Albeit not exciting, we are going to continue our brief explanation of sign language grammar today with a post on location. As I mentioned last week each sign is made up of a handshape, location and movement. Just like the handshapes we saw last week, most children will automatically use a location that is easy and could be just a little off. As the child becomes older and you continue to model the correct sign, they will typically adjust their location to match yours.
Unlike handshapes, however there are not a whole lot of physical rules. Most signs are produced in the face and torso area. There are a handful of signs, such as DOG that are produced below the waist. Often young children will use their bellies for dog until they can learn to get their hand all the way down and around to their side.
I have two video clips of Lu today. She was trying to be cooperative but she is 1.5 so we have to give her a little slack.
In the first video she is showing the sign for CAT. Cat is normally produced with the “F” handshape pulling imaginary whiskers from your cheek. You will see here that Lu has the location correct but both the movement and handshape are still in development. The 2nd sign is DOG. You can see the location of DOG is on her leg. This one is done correctly. And lastly the sign for HORSE. The location is up on her head – representing a horses ears – using the “B” handshape. The location and handshape for this sign is also correct.
In the second video Lu shows us the a sign for ALL DONE. This sign is done in what is called neutral space – meaning that its movement does not include touching the body. Typically the sign is produced with two hands but as you can hear, Lu is learning to say the word, so she only used the one hand. This is also very typical of children using baby signs. Once they can successfully be understood, they will alter or drop the use of the sign.
In the sign for PLEASE, you will see that the location is on her belly. She rubs her whole torso instead of just at the top. Also a common feature of baby signs is over exaggeration of the movement.
Next she gives us a great example of a location mistake. [I know, it’s like she knew what I was looking for] The sign for COOKIE, which is made with a “C” handshape on the palm of the hand, she tries to do on her elbow which is the location for CRACKER with the “S” handshape. Unfortunately we do not get to see a corrected cookie sign. I will try to get that for next week.
I hope you all enjoyed this week’s version of Saturday’s Signs. Please leave me a comment here if you have any questions! I am so excited to be sharing this information with everyone!
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