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American Sign Language: "Classifer: C" (CL:C)

For an explanation of "classifiers" in general, see: CLASSIFIERS
Note: as you study classifiers on some of these pages I have included signs which evolved from classifiers but are so now so common and standard that they are considered just regular signs.
Note: Quite often "Classifier: C" will be used with the mouth morpheme "CHA" (which means that you might see people's mouths move as if they were saying "Cha!" while doing the sign.

The "C" hand shape can be used to show objects that are classified as "round and/or cylindrical" (as in a pole).  "Classifier C" can also be used to show thickness (such as a "thick" book or a layer of snow).


Note to EDS 57 Classifiers Students:  I'm building these links right now (early April). Come back daily if you want to see the recent progress. You may need to refresh your browser.

ARTICLE-(An article or column in a newspaper) (This sign is not a classifier, but if you modify the sign it can be used as a classifier to depict various meanings.)
BINOCULARS (lexicalized classifier)
bo staff
BRAIN-"big-brained" / "double_brained" / very knowledgeable / 2nd Brain
branch-(off of a tree)
camper (a camper on the back of truck)

CLUSTER (group, plural or as a whole, MAN-cluster = "men" WOMAN-cluster = women TEACHER-cluster = teachers)

cup or glass (lexicalized classifier)
located-at: a house in the middle of nowhere
Long vehicles: limousine


pizza: deep-dish
pole or very small tree trunk
THICK (thick objects and/or the thickness or depth of an object)  [1] [2]
thick blanket
thick-BOOK: a thick book (See THICK and scroll down)
snow layer
stack of papers
trolley movement
THERE-(location or placement of a room, house, structure, or large object") (large objects in a specified location), sections and locations: sections of a city


Medium, round, squat objects:
COOKIE (The sign "COOKIE" is not a classifier, but if you modify the sign it can be used as a classifier to depict various meanings.)
small cap (yarmulke)
a large dial

over-ear-headphones or muffs
You asked: "...and then claw C over the ears. Ear muffs or headphones?"
Answer: It could be either depending on the context. Classifiers function to some extent as "pronouns" and must typically first be identified.
For example "MY SON BOUGHT NEW I-P-A-D. NOW HE WANT CL-C: "headphones." (Or, more likely CL-G: "earbuds").

Small spherical objects:
bulbous (clown) nose
bulging eyes
bump on head
Large spherical objects
(two hands) ball
Teeth: baring teeth
full set of teeth
lexicalized classifier examples
Now just regular signs:
Example of a sentence
mixing a regular sign
and a classifier:
The clown had a really big nose.
Small round flat objects:
a disc
a piece of food
taking a bite of a cookie
the moon in the sky
Height and/or width of small objects
a small bottle of perfume
a short pencil
a long screw or nail
Pincers, curved beaks
Example of a sentence
mixing a regular sign
and a classifier:
My friend was walking past my parrot
and my parrot bit him on the shoulder!
Long cylindrical objects: Short cylindrical objects:


(This sign is not a classifier, but if you modify the sign it can be used as a classifier to depict various meanings.)



THICK-CRUST:  In context you can use a CL:C to indicate that the crust on a pizza is a "thick" crust.

Sample sentence:  "Which do you prefer, thick or thin crust pizza?" = "PIZZA THIN-[crust], THICK-[crust], WHICH FAVORITE-[prefer] YOU?"

First you establish that you are talking about a book, then you indicate that it is "thick."


You can use a CL:C or a modified version that just uses the index finger and the thumb to indicate an "article" or "column" -- as in, "a newspaper column."   

I use a "partial C" handshape, but you could also use a regular "C" handshape.  When I do it with a regular "C" handshape, I am generally referring to a "chapter" -- as in "a chapter in a book."

Note: Unless you modify the size or length of the movement, the sign "ARTICLE" is not a classifier. Over time it has become standardized (lexicalized) and is now just a regular sign.  But suppose I started the sign a little higher, exaggerated the movement, and brought the dominant hand "way down" to show a "long article."  In that circumstance, it would be a classifier.


The generic sign for CUP is not a classifier.
But if I use a "C" handshape to show three different cups then you could start making the argument that I am now using a "classifier C" rather than just doing the sign for "CUP."  This would be especially true if my non-dominant hand were to be turned downward (as if representing a table or shelf) instead of upward.

You can show the location of a bruise.



Also see: THICK

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