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American Sign Language: "guinea-pig"


In a message dated 9/28/2003 9:53:41 AM Pacific Daylight Time, nyccavy@msn.com writes:
<<If you can and for my own person curiosity, how under the sun do you sign "guinea pig"?? No one can tell me!>>

Dear Curious,
Just spell "g-u-i-n-e-a" and then sign PIG.
You'd do that on the first reference. Then afterward during that same conversation you just sign "PIG." (Unless it were a lecture on different types of pigs eh? If you need to differentiate between types of pigs then you'd need to keep being specific.)

If I had a magic wand I'd zap myself to "New Guinea" and find out the sign for that country (the word "Guinea") from the local native Deaf. Then I'd use that sign combined with our sign for pig. But, lacking such a magic wand maybe there is a New Guinea website showing signs from their country?  But here in the U.S. not many people know or use a sign for "Guinea" (at least none of the folks I've interviewed).

Another thing to keep in mind is that much of the time when someone says (in English) the phase "guinea pig" they are not talking about a cute little pet. They are really talking about "testing out something new on someone or something."  In that case I'd sign "TEST PIG."  I were talking about the idea of someone or something being used as a test or prototype.

My suggestion for an actual dedicated sign to use (if I were talking about a real "guinea pig") would be to spell it out on first usage then I'd do the sign for "swollen cheeks" and then pig. (Swollen cheeks would be signed with "claw" hands on each cheek.)  Then for the rest of that conversation I could sign "swollen cheeks" to mean "guinea pig" (without needing to add the sign PIG." Of course, "no one" beyond that immediate conversation would have any clue what I was talking about, but it would work well during that particular conversation.

Again, remember, if I were not discussing any type of pig other than guinea pigs, after I indicated "guinea" the first time or two, I'd just drop it and only sign "pig." The other person would still understand that I was talking about the cute little furry ones and not the big mud covered ones.
- Dr. Bill

 



In a message dated 5/29/2003 4:12:45 PM Central Daylight Time, JBrotnov@washingtoncolony.k12.ca.us writes:

I am looking for the signs for Dragon, Guinea Pig, and Hamster. Any assistance you could give would be most appreciated.

Thank you.
J. Brotnov

----------

J. Brotnov,

The sign for hamster is to sign "mouse" and then puff out your cheeks and put your right and left "claw" handshapes on your cheeks to show cheeks full of nuts.

The sign dragon is to place the back of the right "and" handshape up against your snarled mouth. Then "shoot" the handshape forward while wiggling the fingers as if to represent a dragon blowing fire.

To sign Guinea Pig, you can combine the signs: TEST and PIG, or you can sign "big cheeks" by using claw hands on your cheeks.

I hope that helps. Good luck in your signing endeavors.

Dr. Bill
 


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