In general we don’t use the sign “DO” as in “DO you like
Ice cream.” Instead we just raise our eyebrows while signing "YOU LIKE
There is a separate sign for the phrases “What are you doing?” “What did I
do?” “What will we do?”
The sign: subscribe/ssi/dole/welfare can refer to subscribing to a magazine
or newspaper as well as to getting a check from the government.
Discussion: Adverbs in ASL:
An adverb modifies the meaning of a verb, adjective, or other adverb.
ASL uses a number of methods to modify the meanings signs. You can
modify the speed and direction of the sign. This is called
"inflecting" the sign. For example, suppose you do the sign "SLOW" in
a very slow manner, it could be interpreted as "very slow."
Interestingly enough though, you could also do the sign "SLOW" very quickly
and it would still mean "very slow." I know that sounds like a contradiction, but think in terms of real
language use. If I'm chatting with someone and I want to say that the bus was very slow this morning I don't want to have to
take 3 our 4 seconds to inflect the sign slow to mean "very slow." So instead I simply intensify the meaning of the sign
"SLOW" by doing it in an intense manner (faster, larger, a slight pause on the initial hold of the sign).
ASL also uses facial expressions and body posture to
modify the meaning of signs.
For example think of the way your lips and teeth look
just at the moment when you are starting to say a word that starts with
"th." Notice how your tongue is sticking up against your lower lip
with your mouth open a but and the upper teeth pressing down on the tongue?
Go ahead and try that. Also, tilt your head to the side and back a
bit. Let's call the the "TH" expression. Facial
body language other than signs are often called "nonmanual markers" (NMM).
When you use the "TH" NMM while doing a sign you are modifying
meaning of that sign to indicate that it was done in a careless manner.
Pursed lips with a furrowed brow means "intensely."
Lower lip puffed out a bit, head tilted back, content
look on your face means "routine or normal."
"CHA" A facial expression that looks like you are saying the word "CHA" is
often used to indicate that something is big or immense.
Conceptually Accurate Signs:
This topic, "conceptually accurate signs" is important for students to
understand. Students are learning ASL as a second language. For most
ASL students, English is their first language. There is not a one-to-one
match between English and ASL (Newell, 1983). Students need to be careful
not to let their first language intrude upon their second language. [Reference:
Newell, W., & National Technical Institute for the Deaf. (1983).
Basic sign communication. Silver Spring, Md: National Association of the
Suppose you recently watched an inspiring movie and you
wanted to sign, "I was really moved by the main character's death
scene." You should choose your signs according to what you mean
rather than finding the English word in an ASL vocabulary list and then
signing that ASL sign. For example, consider the word "move" in
the sentence above. If you go to a typical ASL vocabulary list and
find the word "MOVE" and use that sign in your sentence you will have missed
the concept. The sign labeled "MOVE" expresses the concept of "picking
something up changing its location, and then setting it down again."
It also can be used for concepts like "relocate to a new house." But it doesn't mean
inspire. We use a different sign for inspire. Another
example of using conceptually accurate signs would be if you were telling a
story about a
"butterfly" you would not sign "butter" and "fly" but you'd use the
ASL sign for "BUTTERFLY."
If a person signs
using conceptually accurate ASL signs but uses English syntax (word
order) they aren't really "signing ASL." Instead what they are doing
might be called "contact signing." Or if they add Signed
English prefixes and suffixes, use initialization more heavily,
mouth English, and use specific English signs when there is no
equivalent ASL sign (instead of just spelling the concept or using a
different way of expressing the concept) that would be called "Conceptually Accurate Signed English (CASE)." Conceptually Accurate Signed English is
similar to "contact signing" except that when using CASE you also
For a practice quiz,
visit: Lesson 25
Check with your instructor or your syllabus regarding any graded
quizzes for this lesson.