In a message dated 2/22/2010 11:07:14
A.M. Pacific Standard Time, kianemalia@ writes:
I have been teaching ASL classes for 28 years. I just found out that an ASL
Instructor told the students about two different signs with different meanings .
So I would like to ask you a question about a certain sign " B....t" a dirty
word. I know there are two different signs for that word. The ASL instructor
said that if you use " \''/ " it means dirty when you use this swearing word.
Other sign like a fist like "b to s" it means oh its ridiculous. Is that
I have lived in various states. I used different signs . For example: In
California, some people sign " b to s" when I moved to Minnesota, they sign "
\"/ " both signs mean the same thing.
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Both the "horned" sign and the sign that uses the letters "B and S" are are
And you can use either sign as an exclamation of disgust or as a
statement that you think something is "ridiculous."
The speed, intensity, movement path, and duration of the sign--plus your facial
expressions are what determine the intended meaning of either sign.
As a hard of hearing fellow I am bilingual and am familiar with the fact that
Hearing people say the individual letters "B" and "S" (without saying the full
words) to mean that something is ridiculous. I recall very clearly over two
decades ago I was hanging out with Connie Johnston (Deaf daughter of Ron
Johnston who is also Deaf) and I signed the "B" to "S" version while voicing the
individual letters "B" and "S." Connie was literally "shocked" that I had
said a "swear word." Since she is d/Deaf (physically and culturally Deaf) she
did not interpret my "sim/com" (simultaneously signed and voiced communication)
as meaning "Oh that's ridiculous!" No. She interpreted it as meaning, "Oh that's
b_ll sh_t!" Note: both statements mean "that's ridiculous" -- but the
second statement also happens to be swearing and offensive at least to some
Ah ha. Lesson learned: The English statement "BS" doesn't translate to
EITHER of the ASL signs.
The English statement "Oh BS!" (not b_ll sh_t, but rather the individual letters
pronounced as "B" and "S") is properly expressed in ASL as the sign
"SILLY/ridiculous" and/or the gesture/sign "Go on/get out of here" (which looks
like a single forward to downward slap in the air).