When I was learning Spanish at TAFE Ultimo last year during the weekend, I met a girl one day who was learning sign language at the same time. I learnt from her that, like the spoken languages, there are many different sign languages existing in the world. There is American Sign Language and Bristish Sign Language for example. I still remember I was telling myself that, perhaps one day, I would try to learn a sign language or two. Why not? It’s fun, it’s different, and I will be able to communicate with whom I would otherwise never be able to communicate verbally.
This idea was sort of rekindled when today I read this blog ‘Baby Sign Language: Mastering Eat and Milk!’. Well although I never thought of it, it totally makes sense to me that babies could sign while their speech capabilities are not yet developed. And it’s interesting to see the comments from people that the signs make their lives easier, and possibly that the signs perhaps contributed to reducing the ‘terrible two’ tantrums. Isn’t it a big enough motivation?
When I think of it, some sign languages have already come naturally (or not?) to Nina.
– waving hands to sign ‘good bye’ (Nina sort of started to do that a few weeks ago with some help from me);
– clapping hands to sign ‘I’m happy’ (Nina certainly is doing that since last week, very pleasant to watch);
– and open mouth big to sign ‘I am super hungry and I am ready to eat. FEED me NOW!’ (Nina is already a master of it, although I don’t think that’s a very elegant sign :))
These signs are perhaps the result of Nina trying to imitate some repeated actions from her parents for a specific action (waving goodbye), or the result of her tests that get confirmed consistently (repeatedly when she opens her mouth very big, her parent would stuff something into her mouth).
I’m yet to do some research around the baby sign languages. The blog I mentioned above and the comments there provided some links so these would be my starting point.
So perhaps one more language – a non-verbal one?