Juli's signed name has two syllables and it requires a change of the palm orientation between these two syllables during its production. Its handshape is the bent "V".
Producing this signed name seems difficult for a 18 months old toddler. To my surprise, Juli did produce her own signed name and it appeared at ease for her. She used the "1" handshape (as in "red") in the first syllable and the "20" handshape (as in "twenty" or "bird") in the second syllable. She did use the twist of the palm orientation. (see video)
Somehow interesting, these handshapes ("1" and "20"), which share the same fingers (index finger and thumb), appear to be different, yet these handshapes appear to be a phonologically related family.
The following referential words and phrases that Juli has used this week: bacon hot, yummy (The bacon is hot. Yummy!, bbq hot ("The BBQ is hot.", wet, hurt/pain, cool (fan), smile (smiley), bye-bye butterfly (referred to a butterfly fluttering away), some more shown in the video above, and reguarly used ASL words.
Juli and her father went out for a while. As they returned home, Juli was about to nap. Sitting on my lap, she pointed at the outside (window) and told me swing, slide.
Did she want to go out for a park? I explained that she might go after her nap. Once Juli napped, I came and found out that she and her father had spent at the park.
Another thing, Juli pointed at the water hose nearby. She looked at me and uttered water [ ?get/turn-off? ] stop stop.
Puzzled, why would she want to stop the water running from the hose when there was no water running? I almost disregarded her note.
Luckily, I stood up and took a look. To my surprise, there was the water tap turned on, fast leaking water out of the top. I had forgotten to turn off the tap even though the sprinkler handle was off.
I turned off the water and showed Juli my appreciation, thank-you-very-much!.
One bedtime Juli pointed at the stairways and asked her father Dude eat/food. Dude replied no. She added grapes. No. Getting not serious, bitter! bitter! (referring to a lemon).
As I was rocking Juli, she would sometimes sit up on my lap and talk with me. She pointed at the smaller fan and produced cool. I pointed at the larger fan outside the doorway and explained, "We already have that one fanning."
She talked about a few things here and there such as pointing at the mosquito bite on her leg and uttering hurt, asking for book? and so on. I kept reminding her of the bedtime. Then she told me poop. Okay, I thought. Then she told me again poop, poop and she pointed at her front diaper.
I looked at her, asking her, poop?. She pointed at the bathroom. Even if she found a way to distract from her bedtime, I thought it was all worth a try. I let her go and helped her set up the toilet seat. I thought, "Seriously? Would she have her first success without even through potty training? It would be an unbelievable milestone!"
Sitting on the seat, Juli waited a few minutes. She pointed at the front bottom. I showed her the difference between the front and the back. She already knew the "poop", so I introduced her to the "pee" by pointing at the nose, for the sake of easiness. Juli was able to point her index finger at her nose.
Juli played game: pointing to the front, I pointed to the nose. She pointed at her behind and I signed "poop". Then she alternated her pointing faster and faster and I followed faster and faster. We laughed.
Well, toilet wasn't a success. But, this learning interaction was all worth it.
Got a story to tell your experience and share it with others? Send an email to Handspeak. I'd love to hear about it, too.
Also see Toddler signing personal names
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.