What is ‘crisps’ in sign language, or ‘trousers’? Anyone who has installed the ‘Het gebaar van de dag’ (a sign a day) app, learns a new word in sign language every day. 11-year-old Emily explains how to make the sign in a short video. She uses signs to communicate with her younger sister who has Down syndrome, and wants to spread awareness for sign language.
“I use it to talk with my ten-month-old son,” says Jeroen van der Schaaf, web editor at Marketing and Communication. “You can start using it from the age of six, seven months, but now he is beginning to have more co-ordination in order to mimic the signs. I have heard that babies and toddlers become frustrated that they can’t express themselves properly yet. This way, he can make it clear for example that he wants something to drink, or that he has seen a cow or a horse. He is becoming more and more specific.”
Sign language is not difficult, but you have to use it consistently, says Van der Schaaf. “Then children can learn to make dozens of signs. It is a pity that they forget them after a while. When they learn to talk, they notice that talking is faster and easier.” But he also uses it with his girlfriend every now and then. “If there is some distance between us and we want to say something to each other.”