The stage of multi-word utterances in ASL

Multi-word utterances in American Sign Language began to unfold more. Two-word utterances became more frequent. The 20-month-old toddler Juli added one or two words to each of her usual utterances in American Sign Language lately. Imagination and play also flourished further, even she imagined a mouse in her bedroom.

For example, a week ago, the father showed Juli some BBQ-cooked meat which smelled good. Juli uttered smell meat.. yummy delicious.

Her two-word utterance yummy delicious often came together lately after I often articulated these two together that Juli eventually picked up.

My intention was to transfer the meaning/concept from one ("yummy") to another "delicious". Then I will drop the word "yummy" and use the ASL word "delicious". But, as Juli learned through imitation, she used both.

This week Juli expanded one or two words to each of some usual multi-word utterances now as: dad oops fall-down face-slammed crying hug and she embraced her arms to give me a hug.

Other utterances that Juli expanded: lightning thunder rain, alarm dad work, egg yummy delicious or X yummy delicious where "X" represents any food including a worm (for birds, of course).

One lunchtime, Juli compounded two common utterances into one long utterance: alarm dad work, fall-down face-slammed crying. I added, "You forgot the 'hug' part." She embraced her arms to give me a hug.

The documentary movie "Babies" was frozen. Grandma Z turned off the television, explaining that it was broken. Juli replied, father fix.

Another time, she noticed a partly torn page in her picture dictionary book. She commented broken. I nodded. She added, father fix. I replied, "No, mom fixes." She explained drilling.

Juli made a spill on the rug. She assured father clean-up, father fix.

Language + literacy development

One bedtime, Juli asked, berries ice-cream. I answered (translated as), "No, tomorrow. It's bedtime now." She suggested, grapes. As I was about to reply, she added cherries.

At the park, Juli and a girl of about age 2 played side by side. Juli introduced me to the girl by pointing at me and articulating mother. She uttered a few times play girl. In the sand, the girl noticed a blue ink on Juli's leg and tried to wash it off. Juli told ix drawing/pen.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: face (index finger circling around her face), same-as (referring to two identical turtles in the book), many bikes, black dog (at the park), father where?, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

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.