Language development from age 1.5 to 2 in sign language (DRAFT)

The other post on the language development in ASL from age 1 to 1.5 in a case study of the baby Juli demonstrates a one-word stage from age 1.0 to 1.5. This post continues to show what ASL words the toddler Juli had used herself beyond 18 months old up to 24 months old (age 2) during the two-word stage.

The one-word stage usually emerges around a child's first birthday. During this stage, words explode. Then two-word utterances explode during the two-word stage. Keep in mind that each child has their own pace.

1;4,2: The following referential words that Juli has used this week: wolf (been several weeks but difficult to capture on video), ice cream, outside, camera, owl, time (understanding the referent but probably not the concept of clock-based time), some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

The multi-word utterances emerged from around this time.

1;4,3: The following referential words that Juli has used this week: another++, candy (jelly beans in the picturebook), jump++, ant, bug/insect, light, skating, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

Saturday, Juli and I took for a walk outside. She excitedly pointed at the red robins in the distance. She uttered bird flapping.

Sunday, Juli laid in my arms at a bedtime in her dark bedroom. Suddenly, she got up and asked for, if not commanded, grapes to-eat. I replied in ASL, (translated as) "No, it's bedtime now." Shortly then, she uttered more milk. She must be hungry.

Tuesday, riding in the stroller at a shopping mall, she asked for more cookie. Later, an older toddler or preschooler passed by. Juli tried to make friend with her, but the other girl waved bye-bye. Back home, Juli recalled and told a story friend bye-bye (see video).

Wednesday, bath done (see video) referring to the picture in a book.

1;5,0: The following referential words that Juli has used this week: stand, bye-bye, cereal, bee, ladybug, bug, camera, vacuum done, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

Juli often used bye-bye both in real situations, in storytelling, and in pretend play. The ASL phrase friend bye-bye was a common utterance. "Bye-bye" could mean "gone" in Juli's expression.

In pretend play, standing outside the backyard, Juli waved bye-bye to me before entering backyard and closing the gate door.

Another, she waved bye-bye to her grandfather through videophone before she left. Also she waved "bye-bye" as the friend Rene got in his truck and was about to leave.

1;5,2: The following referential words and phrases that Juli has used this week: many friends (animals in a book), chicken (well-formed production), cloth washing (referring to Uncle J's one at home), rabbit tired, bbq cook, boat where, food store, fire hot (referring to Dude's firefighter logo), father sleep, printer, kangaroo, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

1;5,3: The following referential words and phrases that Juli had used this week: drawing, father work, lightning, rain, mother hair (she found and identified my one hair), video, ball girl('s), father home, chess, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

As we descended the stairs one day, Juli stopped in the middle of the stairs and articulated slide drive. She was asking for going out for the park.

One early morning Juli sat up on my lap in the kitchen. She pointed at the doorway and uttered ladybug, bug, bee.

1;5,4: The following referential words and phrases that Juli has used this week: bee eat (clearly articulated not on video), spaghetti, video, drawing, many ants, many apples. dad work, many cups, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

The toddler Juli practiced jumping reguarly. Every time she practiced jumping, she uttered jump!. By the end of this week, she finally jumped.

Every time she did, I added, "practice jumping". Eventually at one time she uttered jump practice.

1;6,0: The following referential words and phrases that the toddler Juli had used this week: siren alarm, blueberry, stop water (asking for help to turn off the hose water), milk drink, mother, drawing ("mother" to get my attention to make a request for drawing), help, mother, car red (red car parking outside), father drive, bring food, sit-down, red book (referring to the purple textbook), bug/insect bite, computer typing, swimming, baby video, better (after kissing on her wound), mango (patterned fingerspelling), sunscreen (lotion-on-forearm), some more not mentioned here, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

Bedtime chit-chats: One bedtime, Juli (1;6,0) chatted with me in the dim dark in her bedroom. The insect bump on her wrist bothered her. She uttered insect/bug bite and she kissed on her wound (discouraging her from scratching it).

Then, Juli pointed at the fan and produced fan on/off (where the signed ASL "on" could mean "on" or "off"). She pointed and uttered bed. And so on as she couldn't sleep for a while.

Use of emerging + established ASL words and utterances

The following referential words and phrases that Juli has used this week: father work, father video another (requesting for another video of her father), read book (pointing at the book on the top of the piano), cherry grape to-eat (asking for either grape or cherry to eat at bedtime, making an excuse to get away from bedtime), toothbrush done (Juli informed me after her bath at bedtime), ball cl-throw-up, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

1;6,2: Juli had much more ASL vocabulary, but she still appeared to be frustrated with expression. She wanted to tell something specific but only she could express general things.

For example, she could tell me that she wanted to watch a video on my computer. Even, she could tell me which video to watch (e.g. "baby" to refer to the year of babyhood or "father" to refer to the videos of her birthday).

But, anything else, she got frustrated when she wanted some specific video but there were hundreds of video clips.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli has used this week: red+berries (raspberries, Juli tended to omit the "red" part), ball cl-throw-up, ice-cream cold, raspberry yummy, dog poop (reporting what she saw when peeping through the fence), tomato yummy, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

Through the toddler's lens

Juli manipulated the nightlight turtle, turning on and off the light and different colors. Suddenly, she spotted a small moon among the stairs on th shell of the turtle.

She pointed at the moon and looked at me. She uttered moon (with the 20-handshape on her head). I nodded that she was correct.

It was an afternoon and it was cloudy and daytime outside. Juli pointed toward the window of her bedroom and uttered moon.. raining?.

I explained, (translated as) "There is no moon now. You can only see it at night where there is dark. You'd see the moon and the stars.

Juli persistently pointed at the window again. She looked at me, moon.. raining?

Was she asking if it was the moon that is responsible for raining? Kids can imagine as far as unthinkable. I remember some of my thoughts at age 3-7 and can understand the possibilities.

Juli took my hand and led me outside. Soon she forgot about it as she got distracted the moment she got outside.

Language development

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.

Selected conversational chats with the toddler

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."

Language development

Juli (1;9;0) pointed at the snowy scene of the picture and uttered snow cold very-cold. She produced this phrase cold very-cold from time to time this week. She might or might not understand the concept of inflection but she appeared to understand the essence of them.

Juli stood at the entrance door and uttered drive please. She explained ix-door home drive that she felt like going home.

Highly motivated for farther exploration at her bedtime, she led me to the gate leading to the basement. She uttered downstairs please!. On that day, she also uttered ix-loc chocolate please, please!. She kind of found the word "please" a magic word.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: chew, comfortable (well-formed, first emerged about a month ago), some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language development in ASL

One morning I caught up with Juli and explained (translated as) No running in the library. Juli replied stop. Then she calmly walked along me hand-in-hand.

Later that same day back home, Juli was acrobatic around. I slowed her down and told her, (translated as) It's a nap time. Juli responded stop! Her father, recognizing her utterance, laughed.

But, Juli wasn't tired at all. After a short period of rest, she became kind of chatty: pointing at the window and uttering alarm siren firefighter alarm drive, ix-loc hairclip, help (asking for help to put it on her hair), pointing at the direction and father music, ix-loc hurt, bug/insect got-slapped, and some other one-word utterances along with points alarm!, and so on.

One day Juli, in her stroller, noticed a little black dog having a walk with the master. She thought for a moment and commented dog bark + eat.

The other day, I let Juli out of the stroller to take a close look at the wild rabbit calmly sitting on the lawn. Each time Juli approached the rabbit, the rabbit hopped away.

Finally, it ran away. Juli was perplexed. She pointed at the rabbit and uttered petting?. I explained (translated as), "The rabbit was scared. It didn't want to be petted."

The utterance ix-loc hurt, bug/insect got-slapped! mosquito and its variants this early week was one of the most common phrases.

Another utterance swinging + sliding, drive was a common request that she wanted to go to the playground.

Language development

At a BBQ dinner party in the grandparent's backyard, Juli ran to me. She looked at me and asked home-home and then her gaze turned to the guests and produced bye-bye. I replied (translated as), "No, it's not time yet."

The following referential words and phrases that Juli has used this week: fish hide! (a fish behind the rock), mother car ix-loc (while mouthing "mama"), rocket, ice-cream cold, false, practice (e.g. practice jumping), some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Receptivity and comprehension

Grandma Z's shoes were left in the family room by Juli a while before. As Grandma Z was about to leave for home, we all were in the foyer.

I asked Juli, (translated as) "Where is her shoes." I used the possessive pronoun only rather than "grandma's shoes". Juli left and came back with the grandma's shoes.

Another day, in the bathroom, I made a request for Juli to close the door. Juli left and closed all the bedroom doors and came back. I was expecting the bathroom door. It was interesting how we interpreted differently with no specific to which door I asked for. Talking about a different common sense.

Language development

Juli continued to articulate one of the most common phrases: insect got-slapped!, fall face-slammed crying, alarm siren firefigther.

One day I told Juli that Grandma Z was coming over soon. Juli thought for a moment and her eye lit up, pineapple yummy food/eat. Grandma often brought some pineapple for Juli.

Juli looked through the kitchen window and a little stuffed bear stood on the garage window inside. She told me, ix-loc bear dirty clean-up.

One Friday morning, as soon as Juli got off the bed, she uttered continusouly, lightning, lightning thunder rain. [?] fall-down face-slammed crying. .... She talked longer but I lost some memory after that.

Lightning didn't happen the night before. I realized she probably referred lightning or thunder to my continual coughs all night for the last few days/nights. She slept through, though.

A piano keyboard fell on Juli's foot that Juli was not able to pull out her foot. She produced stuck ("1" handshape). It was the first time I saw her producing it but I exposed her to this ASL word many times. I thought, did she really utter that. In that clear context, I should accept what I saw.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: spaghetti (both index finger bending), rabbit to-pet, star (1-handshape), raspberry yummy, (signed name Rene) bye-bye ("bye-bye" probably interpreted as "gone"), sand, rabbit hopping, paper, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

practice jumping; frog hopping, Juli (her signed name), circle, bear hug, moon dark, turtle same (two identical images of the turtle in a book), father work [?hands slammed?] fall, hide, go-away!, baby movie (making a request for the documentary movie "Babies"), water sprinkler (on the lawns), sit-on mother (when she put the stuffed bear "sitting" on my torso), some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language development

Dude the father showed Juli the 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".

A piano keyboard fell on Juli's foot that Juli was not able to pull out her foot. She produced stuck ("1" handshape). It was the first time I saw her producing it but I exposed her to this ASL word many times. I thought, did she really utter that. In that clear context, I should accept what I saw.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: practice jumping; frog hopping, Juli (her signed name), circle, bear hug, moon dark, turtle same (two identical images of the turtle in a book), father work [?hands slammed?] fall, hide, go-away!, baby movie (making a request for the documentary movie "Babies"), water sprinkler (on the lawns), sit-on mother (when she put the stuffed bear "sitting" on my torso), some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

1;8,3: Juli used please somehow often to get what she wanted -- candy ix-loc please, candle strawberry please (asking for the specific family video to play onscreen), please (asking her father for the smartphone).

The 20 month old toddler Juli continued to identify and name colors of things. When I introduced another color to her repertoire, Juli recognized and uttered brown.

Dad brought home a surprise: a box of chocolates. I introduced Juli to a new taste of the chocolate and ASL word chocolate. In no time, Juli was able to utter chocolate. Such a motivator!

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used that week: remote-control (flexing index finger horizontally), rainbow, bubble, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language development

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: hello/hi (usually when approached an older kid), dad hug, (her excuse to get out of the crib), search, yes, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language development

Juli used the ASL word please pretty often as she found it quite practical to get what she wanted (especially with the penguin movie and the chocolate).

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: tea, waggling-tail (dog's waggling tail), some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language development

I had been waiting for the day when Juli could tell me what happened or what her day was. One evening I came back home from work. I found her in diaper and I found the pants that was very wet, somehow soaked.

No need to ask her father. I showed Juli the wet pants and she told me water. I asked what happened? How did it happen? She pointed straight at the kitchen sink.

Another day Juli had her foot or ankle hurt that I noticed she couldn't stand. Or it was painful to stand. I asked her where hurt?. She pointed at the left foot. I asked again to double check and she pointed at the same foot.

I took her to her father who checked her foot. The father checked the right foot, suspecting it was the right foot. I asked Juli "Where is it hurt?" in ASL. She pointed at the left foot. It was wonderful to be able to know and to have her ability to communicate.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: horse, baby movie (making a request for the documentary movie), baby boy, dog eat, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language development

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: alligator, clay orange (the first utterance when woke up in the middle of night), always (imitating the ASL production when I signed "I love you always."), and some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language development

I pointed at the alphabetical letters "ANNA" and explained in ASL (translated as), "It's the aunt's name Anna."

Juli responded walk. I replied Walk?. Juli uttered next aunt. I asked Walk with aunt?. Juli answered park!. Juli added swinging. Juli led aunt to the park by foot the other day recently.

One day I came back home from shopping. Juli pointed at the door with a begging look. She wanted to go out. She got upset when I took off my coat.

I asked her if she wanted to go out. Juli replied drive. I asked, "Would you like to go out for a drive to a store?" Juli got excited, food store.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: store, outside store, food store, hungry, (one of her excuses to divert from bedtime), new, doctor, ask father, tiny car, and some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: tiny car (a tiny car in the book), always (usually added to complete my utterance "I love you."), hungry, Christmas tree, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: horse riding, YouTube (asking for the Pengui videos on YouTube instead of Netflix), apple cake (Juli telling that she was eating grandmother Z's homemade apple cake), number five (recognizing the magnetic number on the door), firefighter drive ("firetruck"), some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

1;11,3: The following referential ASL words and phrases that Juli used this week: milk upstairs, more puzzle, close-door calmly, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

1;11,3: The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: milk upstairs , candy fall broke (told her father a story about the broken candy cane), elephant, rewind, no, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Language and phonological development

Lately the phonological development began to build somehow more quickly and smoother in term of the movement and location primes. That is, whatever she perceived a new ASL word, she was able to produce it somehow adult-like on the fly.

For example, starting to play a YouTube video on television took almost forever. I told Juli that it was so slow. Juli produced slow with the movement being forward. I repeated it and she made the correct movement (backward instead of forward).

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: father bye-bye, mother bye-bye (good night to parents at bedtime), drive firefighter(truck) (her excuse/reason to get out of the closed safety gate away from bedtime), grandfather fix, more cookie, miss (imitated), harmonica, sleep please, ix frog hopping + hiding, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Another ASL compound word that Juli (age 1;11) had produced this week was green + brocolli. I used the "+" with spaces between two glosses to keep it ambiguous between a two-word utterance and a compound word in ASL.

I created an ASL neologism green+brocolli which is an ASL compound. Note that there is no gloss for the second part of the ASL compound word, so the gloss "brocolli" is a poor substitute. I also created an ASL neologism for "cauliflower", in which the gloss is white+brocolli.

The following referential words and phrases that Juli used this week: number five, green + brocolli, cat hide, santa-claus ride, , light on, mother happy (told Grandma Z), frog hopping, some more shown in the video above, and other ASL words mentioned in the past months.

Related posts

A case study of the baby's one-word stage in sign language from age 1 to 1.5.

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.)

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.