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American Sign Language: "dinosaur"

The sign for "dinosaur" uses a "D" hand (or a flattened "O"-hand) to show a dinosaur walking past. The arm bounces up and down a bit (as if taking steps) as it travels from right to left. Use a facial expression that conveys something big, heavy, and ominous walking by.


Animation: dinosaur


In a message dated 2/22/2005 12:49:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time, kputski@_______ writes:
Dr. Bill,
I have seen two variations on the sign for dinosaur that are different from the one you use. One has the dominant hand's elbow resting on the down-facing, non-dominant hand. The dominant hand has the fingers on the thumb  like a closed, flattened "c" formation, but the "head" sways from side to side.
The other variation that I saw was where the dominant hand makes a "d" shape, then bounces several times across the top of the head front to back like making "spikes" on the head.
Are these widely-accepted variations, or more regional variations?
Hi Kim,
I love the first variation you mention.  I'd use it while telling a story after identifying that I'm talking about dinosaurs via spelling or pictures (to establish context).  If you have whipped out a book with a big picture of a dinosaur and it is obvious that you are talking about dinosaurs you don't need to bother with the "D" hand at all and can jump straight to using a flattened-O handshape.  The base hand is not needed but it does add a bit of interesting extra "detail" to the sign.
That second version you mention ("D's" going backward along the top of the head) is not widely used, no. I personally would only use your second variation if the handshape was modified to be an "index finger" and then only use it to describe dinosaurs with spikes doing down their backs.  It still wouldn't be the "general" sign for "dinosaur" but it could be "a" sign for a "type" of dinosaur if you were telling a story about various types of dinosaurs.  It seems to me that the handshape would probably be more of a "b"-hand since it would better represent the types of "spikes" I see going down the backs of certain dinosaurs.   I suppose if it were a triceratops you could use a modified "3" handshape on the head with the fingers (and thumb) pointing mostly forward. 
-- Dr. Bill
In a message dated 2/22/2005 7:02:51 PM Pacific Standard Time, kputski@______ writes:
Dr. Bill,
Thanks for the information. When I would use that to tell children's stories, could that first dinosaur sign be used as (for lack of a better description) a classifier...for making the dinosaur look around, etc.?
- Kim

Yes, exactly! It could (and should).
-- Dr. Bill


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