Level: General

Baby Speech Language: a parody

Baby Sign Language is a form of cultural appropriation. The legitimate languages (signed languages, especially ASL) have been appropriated into "baby sign language" based on ignorance, misconceptions, and biases about the nature of language as well as systemic oppression (audism).

The other post talks about debunked myths of baby sign language. This post is a parody of Baby Speech Language, inverting the world of 'baby sign language' where you will find 'baby sign language' as senseless and fictional to us as 'baby speech language' to you.

Baby sign language is an analogue to Disneyland that one believes that real life is easy-peasy "Disneyland".

In reality

If you look at the real life language acquisition documentation of a child born into full-fledged ASL-speaking family from birth to age 5 on this website, there is so much complicated process from cooing to babbling to first words to two-word stage and beyond in ASL that are found in deaf children and codas who acquire ASL in the same way other children acquire English, Spanish, etc. Signing and speech are on the same timeline regardless of their modalities.

Baby Speech Language: a new trend

Real life excerpts from 'baby sign language' articles are inverted into Baby Speech Language.

What exactly is baby speech language?

Baby soundsigns are often based on English, but some may teach a variation on it [i.e. 'mama' for 'mother'].

There's a misconception that babies who vocally-speak are somehow stalled when it comes to verbal communication. 'The research is absolutely the opposite,' says [name]. 'Many babies who learn to vocally-speak actually manually-speak earlier.'

In reality

Original quote: "Baby signs are often based on American Sign Language (ASL), but some may teach a variation on it."

"There's a misconception that babies who sign are somehow stalled when it comes to verbal communication. 'The research is absolutely the opposite,'' says [name]. 'Many babies who learn to sign actually speak earlier.'"

As neuroscience, linguistics, and my own documentation show, manually-speaking and vocally-speaking are on the same timeline! Language is amodal. One doesn't manually-speak or vocally-speak without a language or even words. Language or words are maturationally controlled by the brain-based timeline.

Should you teach your baby speech language?

Should you teach your baby speech language, or will it slow his verbal ASL/signing development? Will speech language slow baby's verbal (manually-speaking) development? Here's what you need to know about this early communication tool.

In reality

Quoted as "Should you teach your baby sign language, or will it slow his verbal speech development?" "Will sign language slow baby’s verbal development?""

Think should you teach your baby French, or will it slow his English development?

Sign language and speech languages are just modalities, the vehicles of languages. ASL is not sign language; it's a language. English is not speech language. It's a language. Neuroscientist Dr Petitto famously noted that the brain doesn't tell the difference between lips and hands.

French doesn't hinder English, just as manually-speaking doesn't hinder vocally-speaking as long as you use both. Talk about bilingualism!

Another version: Baby speech language is an effective way to help your child communicate, allowing your non-verbal little one to express his needs before he knows how to use ASL words.

In reality

"Baby sign language is an effective way to help your child communicate, allowing your non-verbal little one to express his needs before he knows how to use words."

These words are patronizing -- "help", "communicate", "non-verbal", "express", "needs", and "words" as if signs are not words.

ASL and English are no different. Manually-speaking and vocally-speaking are both verbal. Same timeline. Same linguistics rules. Same processes in the brain (Wericke and Broca). ASL is language. Signs are words. Use any easy words in any languages in any modalities. It doesn't matter.

Using speech language before they speak (ASL)

We all hate seeing our kids unhappy—but when baby is too young to speak ASL, it can be hard to know exactly what your little one wants. In recent years, more and more parents are turning to baby speech language to help boost communication with their preverbal kids.

In reality

"Using sign language before they [vocally] speak" is very strange, biased, and phonocentric.

According to a number of neuroscience and linguistics studies, language is amodal which means language is brain-based, independent from modalities. Whether ASL or English is used, it's talking, it's verbal as in non-written, it's speaking whether manually or vocally.

When can I start teaching baby speech language?

Your baby will likely develop the skills necessary to say his first ASL word around 8 to 12 months of age (give or take a couple of months). Until then, baby speech language can be a really helpful tool.

In reality

"Your baby will likely develop the skills necessary to say his first word around 8 to 12 months of age (give or take a couple of months). Until then, baby sign language can be a really helpful tool."

Sigh, languages through the manually-speaking and vocally-speaking mediums emerge on the same timeline. No vehicles, no words. English words doesn't emerge earlier than French, nor Spanish words earlier than Japanese. Nor ASL earlier than English.

If your baby is about 8 to 9 months old, you've probably seen him blow raspberries or vocally-calling for something he wants. He's learned these gestures simply by watching and mimicking the adults in his life (that's you!).

In reality

"If your baby is about 8 to 9 months old, you've probably seen him wave goodbye or point to something he wants. He's learned these gestures simply by watching and mimicking the adults in his life (that's you!)."

Pointing to something or waving bye have nothing to do with baby sign language. They are just gestures, just as you don't need to learn "blowing raspberries" in baby speech language.

How to teach baby speech language

Just because baby isn't talking (ASL) yet doesn't mean you can't communicate. Here's how to teach baby 5 key words in baby speech language.

Baba (for baby), moo (for more), mama, dada, and ata for (eat) .

In reality

Excerpted from "Just because baby isn't talking [in vocal-aural modality] yet doesn't mean you cannot communicate. Here is how to teach baby sign language."

Signing is speaking. Signing is talking. Signing is verbal. Signing is manually-speaking. Signing = speaking. Any languages whether manual or vocal emerges on the same timeline and are maturationally controlled by the brain -- not by the modalities. Language is amodal.

The thing that parents use is called parentese or motherese. For thousands of years, parents use parentese in their own languages whether in speech or signing. That doesn't mean they are baby language.

Baby Speech Language Dictionary

To look up an English word "text" (as in sms or texting), you google and get the result:

a definition of "text" in baby speech language on the #1 ranked spot with a link to a baby speech language website above other English dictionaries such as merriam-webster.com, dictionary.com, cambridge.org, vocabualry.com, and thefreedictionary.com.

Then you look up other English words such as "baby", "book", "help", "dictionary", and so on, you keep seeing the #1 ranking spots for Baby Speech Language above other English dictionaries down below.

In reality

That's what it happening lately (2022). Google "ASL sign for [some words]" and a #1 ranking shows 'baby sign language'.

This trend proves a dangerous shift. How accepting and wonderful the world would it be for babyizing English?

Terminology

Introducing a few mouth signs can encourage babies to communicate... Baby speech language is a set of simple mouth gestures...

In reality

Excerpted: "Introducing a few hand signs can encourage babies to communicate...", Baby sign language is a set of simple hand gestures...

The terms such as "hand signs" and "hand gestures" are strange. Words and gestures process very differently in the brain. ASL words (signs) are words, not gestures. Vocal gestures do exist. Manual gestures such as waving, pointing, etc. are no more different than vocal gestures such as sighing, yelling, raspberring, sticking tongue out, crying, etc.

Baby Speech Language Books

"English Speech Language for Kids: 101 Easy Soundsigns for Nonverbal Communication" by Ellehcor Wolrab.

"The Baby Sounding Bible: Baby Speech Language Made Easy" by Arual Greb.

"Baby Speech Language Made Easy: 101 Soundsigns to Start Communicating with Your Child Now" by Arual Ennyl Noskcaj.

"Teach Your Baby to Soundsign: An Illustrated Guide to Simple Soundsign Language for Babies" by Acinom Reyeb.

"Baby Talk: A Guide to Using Basic Speech Language to Communicate with Your Baby" -- Acinom Reyeb.

Do's and Don'ts

It's fine to learn another language (French, Spanish, Cree, Navajo, ASL, LSQ, Auslan, etc.) at any age as long as the oppressed group's language is not appropriated nor used for one's advantages.

While learning sign language, also learn its culture, history, literature, art, etc. Language and culture/history of Deaf people are inseparably tied.

Don't use the term "baby sign language" nor treat "ASL" as if it's an easier language than any other spoken language, because it's not.

Learn about cultural appropriation, (hearing) privilege, oppression (audism, oralism), phonocentrism, linguicism. Unpack them as well as embrace hearing fragility.

Learn about language acquisition in signing and speech (both are on the same timeline), sign language linguistics (both signing and speech have the same linguistic features, processes, and all).

Respect ASLian people (aka Deaf people in the U.S. and Canada) as well as any other signed languages and Deaf signers around the world.

Sign language is our "sacred artifact" -- the core of our cultural-lingual identity and pride.

Related posts

Straight out facts from myths of baby sign language.

Overview a process of the authentic language acquisition in sign language and its milestones.

Learn about cultural appropriation.

Enter a keyword in the field box below to search or filter the new topic list and click on the link.

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.

Expressing needs and wants

  1. Making commands or requests

Talking about activities

  1. Frequency of time: how often?

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.