How Baby Signs Infantilized American Sign Language
Five years or so ago, the Baby Signs movement was in full bowel, with mommies everywhere clamoring to get their babies “signing” their first words instead of verbalizing sounds. “Baby Signs,” the theory still goes today, “is a prime key to early intellectualization and language acquisition for babies.” The problem with that notion is that Baby Signs do not teach a language — Baby Signs only destroys an established language by infantilization and misuse and ego projection — and I’ve never seen any convincing, quantifiable, evidence that Baby Signs actually does a baby any good. Oh, Baby Signing is great for mommy because it makes her feel fulfilled and that she’s given birth to a genius-child-by-inference using imagined visual glossing, but Baby Signs does nothing significant at all for the baby because the intention is to never actually teach the baby American Sign Language. The intention of Baby Signs is to improperly use ASL HandShapes out of context to bridge the baby into spoken English.
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