Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sign Language Update

This might not be that interesting to anyone but I thought I’d share it just in case anyone has been curious about how sign language would effect our kiddo’s speech once he got to this age. Based on what I’ve seen of other kids his age/slightly older (he’s 19 months right now), I feel like he’s usually right in line with his peers. He has even occasionally seemed a little ahead, but doesn’t ever seem behind at all to me. I’m of course very biased in this area, but when I genuinely attempt to be objective I don’t notice any difference. He still uses a little bit of sign language for areas he doesn’t have words for or for words we don’t always understand on the first try (book, for example) but he has generally moved on to words and is just using sign language now for new words he can’t quite pronounce. Here’s a list of his words at 19 months:

Amen (May-meh)
Apples (ap-poles) [He also thinks onions are apples]
Ay-ay-ay (ay-yeah-yeah)
Ball (bah + throwing motion)
Balloon (Brooon)
Bath (Quack-Quack + contented sigh)
Book (Buh)
Boots (buuuus)
Bye ("buh" while waving)
Car (vruuuuuum)
Cheese (jeeeeez)
Church (ch-ch)
Dad (Dad/ Daddy/ DAAYYYYY-EEEEEE!)
Eat (Eeeat-Eeeat-Eeeeeeat)
Grandma (Mam-maw)
Grandpa (Bap-baw)
Jesus (Jeshhhh)
Just Go to Bed [favorite Mercer Mayer book] (“Doh-gugga-bah!” while wagging his finger)
Kirabo, the child we sponsor through Compassion (Brow)
Library (Brah-ee)
Mom (Mum, mam, mem)
Music (sings “dayyyyy”)
Nana (Nana)
Night-night (ni-ni)
Play outside (bwee/ bway)
Please (peeeees)
Santa/Ho-ho-ho (Oh-oo-oh!)
Talk nice ("miiiiim" in the softest little voice ever) [This is how he responds when we remind him to talk nice instead of throwing a temper tantrum, and also how he asks us to talk nice if we’re being impatient with him]
Trick or treat (chi-to-chit)
Turtle (tuh-tul)
Uh-oh (Uh-ow)
Uncle (Uh-ull)
Up (Up-up-up)
Veggie Tales (sings "vay dehhhh duhhhh")
Walk (wog)
Yuck (ee-yuggg!)

Sign language (some is the actual American sign language we've taught him, some is just whatever he made up and started to use to get his point across): baby, banana, book, color, diaper, drink/water, eat, fish, gloves, hat, milk, no, prayers, sleep, socks, watch a movie, look at pictures

Veggie Tales Specifics...
Esther (Doh-duh-guy [Mordechai] in a super deep voice)
King George and the Duckie (Gwack-Gwack)
Lord of the Beans (Bean!)
Madame Blueberry (Bu-jee) (At one point in the movie they sing "bungee, bungee...")

He always talks about the following animals by making their sounds: bears, bees, birds, camels, cats, cows, dinosaurs, dogs, ducks, elephants, giraffes (they moo like cows, in case you didn’t know. We read about that in a book), goats, horses, llamas, mice, monkeys, pigs, sheep, snakes.

He seems to really like talking and is always trying to learn new words. He only says one word at a time right now but he’ll occasionally string two together when prompted (“Walk please” instead of shouting and pointing to the ground, etc.) Again, I’m biased, but I do feel like he throws fewer tantrums (though he still throws at least one or two a day!) than most of the other kids his age I see. I think this comes from being able to communicate with us so well, whether it’s through his words, his sign language, or knowing that he can attempt to gesture something to us just like he would with “real” sign language. This of course doesn’t work every time, but in most situations it does help us figure out what he’s saying.

We are still very much all about sign language and will without a doubt be using it with this next baby too. It’s so wonderful to have a little baby actually tell you what they want instead of always having to guess!


  1. I like that you pointed out that even if he doesn't know an actual sign/word, he can at least attempt to use gestures! I think that would make a huge difference because at least he feels like he's trying to get his point across.

    Totally laughed out loud at Esther and him using Talk Nice when you guys re being impatient with him!

    1. It's cute after the fact, but in person it just makes us feel so bad and guilty! I'm glad he does it though because sometimes it makes us nicer a lot quicker than we would have been on our own!