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American Sign Language:  "breakfast"

There are a couple of different ways to sign "breakfast."

1.  A popular sign for "breakfast" is a combination of "EAT and MORNING."




This initialized version uses a very small rotational motion.  Somewhat like eating a bowl of soup that you are holding a few inches away from your mouth.  I don't actually touch my lips or mouth while making this sign.  There is a variation of this sign that taps the chin and lips with the index finger side of the right "b-hand."




Some instructors don’t like teaching the initialized versions of BREAKFAST, LUNCH, and DINNER, they prefer the “EAT-MORNING” “EAT-NOON” and “EAT-NIGHT” versions. But many Deaf out in the real world use the initialized versions.  In real life every skilled ASL user will instantly recognize the initialized versions of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Many skilled ASL signers use the initialized versions as their preferred signs. Thus a strong argument could be made that those versions have indeed been adopted into ASL. Yet you will still see disagreement amongst instructors.  When in doubt, as a student you should do it the way your current instructor does it because he or she is the one giving you a grade. Your instructor gets to be "right" for 10 to 15 weeks (or however long your class lasts).  Then after the class is over, go interact with the Deaf Community and sign the way you see signing being done by native Deaf adults (especially those who attended Deaf Schools).

The fact is there are many native DEAF people that prefer to sign "breakfast" using an initialized form of EAT with a "B" handshape.  Some people who prefer to sign "EAT+MORNING" tend to "pooh pooh" the the initialized form of the sign as "Signed English."  My opinion is that while the initialized version of BREAKFAST might have started out as "Signed English" it has long since been adopted by so many members of the Deaf community that it now qualifies as an acceptable ASL sign. Time will tell.  Eventually I reckon the old folks who sign "eat morning" will all die off and the young whippersnappers will use the "B" + "EAT" version because it is easier to do a one-handed sign instead of a two-handed compound sign.  I personally am flexible, but if your instructor or friend has a preference then by all means, do it the way they want!  (Unless of course you want to annoy them -- if so, by all means do it the other way!) 
- Dr. Bill

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