fanlistingsParaphrased from The Fanlistings Network - A fanlisting is an online listing for fans of a certain subject (in this case, a language), that is open to people from around the world to join. The only requirements to join a fanlisting are your name and country.
For more about fanlistings, others you can join, or how to start some of your own, please visit thefanlistings.org
sign languageDefinition from HandSpeak.com -
"Sign language is a language in visual-manual modality. It is a natural language as sophisticated and complex as any speech language. It has been primarily developed and used by Deaf people.
Like speech language, sign language is not universal nor international. Signed languages around the world are as distinct as, for example, English and Japanese.
Sign language is not made up of a standardized system of gestures. Numerous lingustic studies show that sign languages have their own grammatical rules, syntax, phonology, morphology, and other linguistic features that spoken languages have.
Sign language is not a substitute of a speech language nor it is a signed version of a speech language. It stands in its own independence. Ameslan (American Sign Language) and Auslan (Australian Sign Language), for example, are not signed versions of English nor are they based on English."
baby sign/baby speakDefinition also from HandSpeak.com -
Studies show that an infant who uses ASL or another sign language can express a first word in visual-manual mode a few months earlier because of the earlier physical development and coordination. Their vocal-motor skills develop later. In this way, they can begin to talk manually as early as 6 to 8 months.
Parents, caretakers or others can use regular ASL [American Sign Language] words (rather than adapted nor simplified) to babies. Infants will naturally adapt a handshape and movement of an ASL word on their own, depending on the developmental stage of their eye-hand coordination. Their signing would evolve and mature to pronounce properly as their physical coordination develop. It is no different from the way babies go through the developmental stages in spoken English [or other language]."
Infants would adapt themselves with some difficult handshapes. For examples, they would use an index finger instead of the "J" handshape for "juice". As they develop physically, they would evolve their handshapes back to regular handshapes of the ASL words. Parents should continue to pronounce ASL words properly."
Tips on signing with babies/toddlers:
- Signing with your baby can be a learn on the job type of endeavor, so don't worry if you aren't familiar with signing yet. There is no need to be fluent, just to help your child be less frustrated. Just learn together, and you'll be fine.
- When you point to something, or perform an action, show the baby the sign [most commonly, ASL] associated with it. For hearing parents, use signed words accompanied with spoken words.
- If the baby has not signed back, don't be discouraged; it may take a while (weeks, or even months), before your child (or child you're working with) signs back.
They are paying more attention than it seems, I know this from experience with my daughter [now age two]; I signed "thank you" and "more" to her for the first few months of her life, and one day, she just started doing them back to me [and used them in the correct contexts]. She also made up a few signs. I do the ASL handshapes back to her, but I don't literally correct her, as she'll pick it up in time.
When children figure out the signs get them things they need or want, without struggling to get adults to understand, they will be a big fan of using it. ;)