Baby talk, first language
The other post on the language development in ASL from 0 to 12 months old in a case study of the baby Juli shows ASL words what I used with her over the period of a year from birth. Now this post shows what ASL words Juli had used herself during the one-word stage from her first birthday.
The one-word stage usually emerges around a child's first birthday. During this stage, words explode! After Juli's first birthday, words began to flow out. More and more words emerged on a daily basis.
Keep in mind that many of these words come with handshape errors like any toddlers learning to develop and pronounce words correctly over time, regardless of signing or speech. This is only a demostration which shows how language acquisition looks like in sign language in a case study.
Notes: The green bold capitalized words represent ASL words. If you see "CL", it means the use of a classifier. These weekly words represent a general first use of the words but baby Juli do use them reguarly, from time to time, or at some times in cumulative vocabulary-building after first use.
Age 1;0,2: The following emerging ASL signs or words that Juli used with references: cl-bread-pop-up (toasts popping up), airplane, ear, foot (pointing rather than producing), firefighter, beautiful (when putting on necklaces around her neck, supervised).
1;0,3: The following emerging words that Juli had used with references: bath, bread, cold (when opening the door to the outside), please, light, bicycle, shoes, poop... and some other incomprehensible productions.
And penguin, snow, orange, toast, work (when totting toward the working mother's office)...
1;1,0: The following emerging words that Juli has used with references: cat (different production), flower (not new but re-emerged), father (1-handshape), bird flapping (location error on cheek), gorilla, eat (20-handshape)...
Juli continued to produce such as strawberry, cold, snow, father (now regularly), drive-car, work, milk (cow milk)...
The following ASL words were introduced to Juli (receptive): key, fix/repair...
1;1,2: The following words that Juli had used with references: book, star, flower, rabbit, work (referring to my work paper), cold, snow, bear, break (similar production to "work"), pop-up (toast), eye-glasses, pepper (referring to stuff in the cabinet) and some other regularly used ASL words.
The ASL production book that Juli produced had become a bit more distinguishable. No doubt, she had uttered this in the past weeks but that production was similar to a "clap" which I had the tendency of dismissing it.
But, this week I realized when it became more clear that Juli referred to a book. She pointed to some books on the kitchen table and produced book which was then less similar to the "clap".
The production book has a slightly different movement that deviated from the "clap" movement that I was able to detect with sensitivity.
Last week I lit a candle and signed fire. Juli might remember a bonfire we had on the new year eve a couple of months ago. She stared at it in awe. I don't think she could forget.
One day in the basement, Juli came across a brochure with an image of a living room with its fireplace. She pointed to the fireplace (new context) and produced fire (the production similar to her production for "snow" but with slightly different movement).
At a bedtime, Juli opened a book and the page showed an image of a deer. I produced it for her a few times every time she pointed to it as if she was double or trice checking.
As I was busy around, Juli looked at her father and showed him by pointing to the deer and produced deer (same production as her production for "eye-glasses"). She didn't use an open handshape.
The following words that Juli has used with references: football (when she found the football in a box in the storage room), hot, bath (perfect production), snack (using "more" in reference to a snack -- cookie, mini-muffin, etc), cl-swing, cough (Juli's turn-taking game by pretending a cough and signing "cough" at a birthday party), fish, hairbrush, monkey and some regularly used words from the past.
1;2,0: The following words that Juli has used with references in the last couple of weeks: girl (referring to the girl in the book), laundry (slightly bent 5-handshape+twisting wrist, ball (different production), moon (same for "sun"), firefigther (same for "father"), cold with mouth morpheme "razzy" (perfect and clear production) please, butterfly (new, emerging), Christmas (referring to Christmas boxes in the basement), milk and some reguarly used ASL words.
1;2,1: The following words that Juli has used with references in the last couple of weeks: thank-you, mouse (correct movement, 5-closed handshape on chin area), please (imitation when requested), baby (correct movement), art ("A" handshape <-> open handshape), drink (with a distinct movement), moon (20-handshape), tree (previously mistook for "Christmas" because of the same production) and some reguarly used ASL words.
1;2,2: The following words that Juli has used with references in the last couple of weeks: help, baby (correct movement), mouse (lower location, 20-handshape, somehow correct movement), fish (closing/opening hand), some others as seen in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.
1;2,3: The following words that Juli has used with references this week: goose (open handshape on the other arm), help, princess (20-handshape on waist level), water (20-handshape or sometimes flat-N handshape), dad/firefighter drive (two words) and some reguarly used ASL words.
Long awaited ASL word had reemerged which was mother ("A" handshape).
Juli (1;2,3) focused intensely on her interests of the week and used ones of the most frequently used ASL words: vacuum (and broom), baby (she kept asking to watch her one-year video slides and often signed sneeze to refer to herself sneezing when she was a newborn, key (she requested me for it a few times or more a day).
Juli used to produce phone on the upper and farther back head. Now the location parameter of this ASL word has phonologically developed a bit more. The location is now much lowered (close to the neck) between the chin and the ear.
The following referential words that Juli has used this week: cook, mother, bath ix-loc dad (referred to Dude in the washroom), water (20-handshape), dirty, stop, some new words shown in the video, and some reguarly used ASL words.
Juli (1;4,1) uttered the same production that referred to the ball part of the Dyson vacuum as fan.
The other day Juli first uttered butterfly in reference to an old free-flying torn plastic bag from nowhere. I corrected NO, IX-it GARBAGE. (translated as "No, it's garbage.") From then on, Juli uttered garbage each time she saw it.
In the past Juli produced fish which was similar to the production of milk due to the non-distinct prime of movement, but the contexts and pointing were clear. Now Juli (1;3,0) had acquired a more phonologically appropriate movement in fish which was close to the perfect production.
The following referential words that Juli has used this week: tired, building-blocks, store (grocery store), sun, and some regularly used ASL words.
1;3,1: Another thing was that Juli imitated or learned and uttered a new ASL word the moment she was shown, exposed to, or introduced.
For example, in our routine (or bedtime ritual practice) I talked to Juli in front of the hallway mirror good+night (translated as It's bedtime now. Good night).
Another thing was that Juli walked around thinking and producing father, mother, father, mother. She was talking to herself.
Juli also began to talk about things that referents were not present (thus, no pointing to the context). This was becoming a new challenge for me.
As reflected in the "milk party" imagination, it suggests that Juli had been growing more thinking of non-present objects and actions in her mind and expressed them in action and language.
The following referential words that Juli had used that week: pineapple (1-handshape), cook, duck, yogurt (her make-up), good+night (imitating), shower (pretty good production), turtle, some more as shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.
1;3,2: The following referential words that Juli has used this week: shoes (similar to the production of "more"), grandmother (for weeks now, difficult to capture on video), some more shown in the video above, and other reguarly used ASL words.
Her father reported that Juli told him eat, hungry and came to the highchair and pointed to it. I brought her to the highchair and fed her.
Juli uttered mother+father (two-word phrase as in "parents"). She used the "A" handshape (with the palm on the cheek) for "mother" and the 20-handshape for "father". But, lately she occasionally used the "1" (index finger) handshape for either of these ASL words.
1;3,3: Lots of ladybugs visited our front and back yards at this time of the year. I showed Juli a real-life ladybug previous week and connected the ASL word lady+bug to it.
Juli knew this ASL word that I used many, many times from books, but now Juli saw a real one. Juli produced ladybug vaguely that I mentioned about it last week.
But, this week Juli watched several ladybugs in our yard and made up her own word for it. The production was using the "1" handshape multi-pointing to her torso. Seemingly, it derived from the ladybug's black dots on the body.
I couldn't remember how she picked up that. It could be that I produced lady+bug and then described the characteristic of a ladybug using the classifier (two-handed "F" handshape pointing to the torso alternately), where she picked it up from.
There were also a few other distinct productions that Juli made up in reference to some objects she came across. It's fascinating to look into toddlers' minds of how language emerges.
1;3,3: Juli paused from playing and reported motorcycle.. motorcycle repeatedly a few times. What was she trying to tell me? She took my hand and walked to my office toward the window. There, the neighbour started up his black Harley-Davidson motorcycle and proudly rode off.
The other day Juli stood in front of the stair gate. She asked help. Sure, I opened the gate. She uttered thank-you. I was impressed and pleased.
Grandma Z casually announced "I'm going home now." Juli toddled fast to the front door and produced home. She pulled down the handle and tried to open it. She uttered home a few times along the way.
The following referential words that Juli has used this week: grass (often used but difficult to capture on video), mother, home some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.
1;4,0: This week I noticed a few new significant developments. Juli picked up ASL words relatively quicker. Juli continued to pick up some new ASL words, such as wait, excited, and lemon.
Juli produced with more smooth transition between ASL words, produced ASL words immediately after being introduced to new words, and produced more ASL words from memory that I hadn't used in a long while.
Juli picked up more ASL words in shorter time. The length of time between perceiving a new ASL word for the first time and using or producing it had become nearly melded into a slice of time. That is, whatever Juli was introduced a new word, she began to produce it as soon as a few minutes or a day afterward.
Another thing was that Juli produced an ASL word, for example cherry, from memory that I hadn't used it in a long time. She came across a picture of the cherry in the picture book and asked for it. The last time we had cherries was long before the last autumn.
Though Juli had produced some ASL two-word utterances sometimes in the past weeks, it was a sign of the emergence of two-word stage. Now Juli began producing some more two-word utterances.
The following new referential words that Juli has used this week: ladybug (her own production), worm (dominant "1" down on passive "5"), bug (closed "5" on nose), slide (dominant "5" down on passive lower arm), fan, hug, lemon some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.
One day the father was napping on the sofa in the family room. Juli, sitting in the highchair in the kitchen, matter-of-factly uttered father sleep. I didn't say anything prior to that.
Juli stood in front of several pairs of shoes. She pointed at one of the shoes and uttered shoes mine before she toddled away.
Other multi-word phrases that Juli uttered were as follows: bear hug, mother father work, mother cook/cut grape.
1;4,1: Watching the video clips of her first year, Juli uttered something. As the image of herself jumped in jumper, she produced jumping (index finger onto palm repeatedly). She did it from memory. I don't recall using it lately nor use it more than few times.
The following referential words that Juli has used this week: #MAMA(fingerspelling, similar production of "milk"), rattle, jump, clothes, monkey (making a request for the book on the kitchen table), another, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.
A case study of the baby's first words in sign language.
New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be a useful review for intermediate-level learners and ASL students as well.
Some tutorial pages are a mix of free and premium versions. Access to premium content and links below are available in the PatronPlus subscription. More links/posts will be added from time to time.
Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)
Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.
This documentation project follows a child's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, from newborn to age five in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.