[Saturday Signs has been on hiatus due to some technical problems – Oh and tiny uncooperative (yet extremely adorable) gremlins. I am happy to be back this week with another installment.]
If this is your first edition of Saturday’s Signs or you would like to review previous posts, here are the links to the last 3 topics:
Today we are going to talk about the last parameter of a sign which is the movement. Each sign has has a pattern of HOLD-MOVEMENT-HOLD. Once the handshape is created, the sign finds it’s proper location, then moves, then stops. The movement of the sign also denotes the part of speech, ex. verb or noun.
To make things a tad tricky, sign language does exactly the opposite of what you would think a sign should do. A noun in sign language, such as MILK, is created by squeezing the 5 handshape over and over again [like milking udders], it includes a repetitive motion. A verb in sign language does not repeat it’s motion, such as the sign for EAT, which is made with the folded O and comes to the mouth.
Signs that represent nouns will typically repeat 2x before coming to the HOLD. Sometimes a sign will be repeated 3 or more times but these are usually temporal markers or used as adverbs. Children often exaggerate the movement of the sign or do not complete the full movement.
In today’s video, Lu is showing us 4 signs: BATH, BED, HOME and BOOK. In the first sign for bath, the sign is made with “A” handshapes moving up and down on the chest. Typically the sign would be made with an UP-DOWN-UP motion. Lu however does it multiple times. Also, towards the end of the video, I ask her to repeat the sign and she does it one handed.
The sign for “bed” is created by pressing the “B” handshape up to the ear. Lu incorrectly uses both hands and instead of moving her hand to pat, she moves her entire head. This is a good example of how a child will change a fine motor motion into a gross motor motion.
In the third sign, Lu signs “home” by using a flat “O” and tapping her cheek. This sign is usually made by going from the ear to the chin and back. She simplifies the sign by simply taping.
Lastly in the sign for “book,” Lu uses the “B” handshape again in neutral space. The sign “book” represents opening and closing. You can see in her movement that she does not completely open her hands all the way up but instead kind of moves both hands together.
The most interesting thing about the errors, is that she gets enough of the signs correctly, even without all the correct parameters that you can understand her. As she grows and develops, she will begin to self correct her errors and the signs will develop accordingly.