Preschooler using an indefinite pronouns in sign language

The bilingual preschooler Juli (age 3;7) began to use an indefinite pronoun something/someone in American Sign Language a little while ago. Since then, she used it sometimes. Note that the ASL signed "something" and "someone" are about the same production.

Prior to using the "something/someone" pronoun in ASL, Juli had used #all and many pretty naturally for the past months that I didn't recognize as the firsts. However, now "something/someone" is something that stands out among the indefinite pronouns.

For some examples, one day Juli and I were sitting under a table in a toy store. A garbage under the table fell down. Juli looked around and signed something fell-down. She looked under and I followed, ah. We both signed garbage.

Another day, she was scared in her dram and woke up. She signed something huge fell-down.

At age 3;7, Juli was seen sometimes using another/other and some. For example, I asked her about her classmate, you see (signed name) in your class?. She replied, ix-he in another class.

Another time, Juli noted some juices bad, some juices good, healthy.

Using plural pronouns in ASL

Juli also was observed, using a plural pronoun you-two. At age 3;9 (October), Juli told me, ix-me like father and you, both-of-you (using the "2" handshape for the plural).

Language development

Some of the following examples that Juli had uttered in American Sign Language during this month in August: university, and some more.

One day in late August, I received a great news. I told Juli, ix-me got job!. She looked at me, university said yes. I nodded. She knew that if I could get a contract teaching at the university, I'd be able to support her participation in gymnastics. She signed now ix go-to gymnastics.

Another day, Juli came to me out of blue sky, hey, my heart hurt. I asked, why? She continued, man in ix-ref(chest)++. Ate, swallow-down ix(stomach). I asked, who man? She thought for a moment, ix-me not dunno.

At age 3;9, Juli was using a quantifier VERY, ix-me very sorry. She came to me when my Portugese souvenir was broken.

Related posts

Also see a preschooler using demonstrative pronoun, third-person pronoun, and the emergence of reflexive pronoun in sign language.

This documentation project follows a baby's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, week by week from gazing at birth to manual babbling, to first words just before the first birthday in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.

The second-year and third-year documentation continues to follow the same child's language and phonological acquisition and literacy development in ASL on a weekly basis from the one-word stage to two-word and multiple utterances.

The documentary continues to follow the same child's ASL language and literacy development on a regular basis from age three to four. It surveys ASL phonological acquisition and more complex utterances.

These posts on ASL-English bilingualism, language acquisition, and bilingual education may be of an interest for parents who raise a bilingual-bimodal child in ASL (or another signed language) and English (or another written and/or spoken language of its respective) as well as informative and educational for ASL specialists, educators, and professionals.