Many take for granted that baby signers are actually borrowing a language from a culture most of us know very little about. While we understand that some people can’t hear or are hard of hearing, we don’t understand what it really means. As we use a real living language – ASL, we should respect, not only the rules, but also the culture who has worked to create something we can use, even just for a brief time in our lives.
Because ASL is real, we need to understand how it works so we don’t abuse it. There is a long standing rule that says only a person who is deaf can create a signed name. I respect this, and hope you do to. It’s also not advisable to create new signed words either. The intricacies of creating new words for things or replacing words that already exist with our own signs can lead to great embarrassment. Without understanding ASL completely, “inventing” words can result in offensive gestures. This might not concern you, and this is your prerogative, but this isn’t the purpose of this post – but rather as a warning and thanks for tolerating the foray baby sign language has made into signing.