Gestural pointing to things for names

Growth had slowed down for the past few weeks. But, inversely, language development began to increase from this on.

Juli had been pointing at things in the environment for the past weeks. Initially, she pointed to direct me where she wanted to go.

Now something was different. Juli pointed at things for a different reason. It was more about communicating what she saw or thought. With that, I found myself naming things she pointed at.

From there, with the power of finger pointing as a form of communication, pointing no longer functioned solely as a direction. Juli grew more interested in pointing at things and listening for their names.

This naming stage had just begun to emerge.

The emergence of gestural pointing to the pictures for names

A month ago, Juli first formed an index finger and pointed to direct where she wanted to go. Then she discovered that she could point at things in the environment for names.

Then I noticed the other week (m10w3) that Juli began to point at the pictures in a book for names. It gave me a new window into her mind what she was seeing!

Whenever Juli pointed to an image in the book, I articualted an ASL word referring to what Juli pointed at.

Another thing was that Juli turned the page one by one by herself. It gave me an insight into how long Juli preferred to "read" each page. I helped separate the hardboard page using my fingernail, but she lifted and turned the page herself.

In the scene in the video where the book was upside down, I suggested Juli to turn the book around and helped her turn it around. In the right format, Juli tapped on her lap and finger-pointed to the image of the dog.

But, she also referred that expression to other furry animals. Later she learned to categorize further.


An interesting phenomenon occurred with multi-pointing. I don't know when Juli began multipointing; that is, pointing to more than one image at once before looking at me for naming. But, I began to notice lately .

Early at 12 months, Juli pointed to 1) bicycle and 2) football. I simply dismissed multipointing, thinking that Juli just changed her mind. I uttered football.

Then Juli pointed to the image of a basketball. I uttered it. This whole scene happened to be captured on video.

Two days later, Juli opened the book and multipointed to 1) basketball, 2) football, and 3) bicycle. Her pointing was a clear intention for each of these items. I intuitively uttered all of them respectively.

Juli thought for a moment and pointed to the bicycle again. I thought she was double checking because this item was fairly new, while the other two had been somehow familiar to her.

Luckily this whole scene was captured on video. And, I didn't recall the previous event until I edited these videos and discovered this interesting link. This tells something about Juli's memory.

Likewise for the adjacent images of the goose and the kitten in another book. Often Juli opened the book, looked for the specific adjacent pages, and pointed to the kitten and/or the goose.

One morning Juli multipointed at both images of the kitten and the goose and looked at me. I simply uttered both at once.

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.