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American Sign Language: "incompetent"

The sign for "incompetent" is used to mean such things as "inept" or "no good at."

INCOMPETENT: (Version 1)

Animation:  INCOMPETENT:


(Version 2)  You may see differences in the handshape.  You might even see some people do the sign with a forward twist of the dominant hand rather than backward twist.


Note: In the sign above, think of the non-dominant hand as representing your brain, and your dominant hand representing the thickness of your skull.  Hmmm. Not very flattering. Best to picture it with someone else's brain and skull.
Hey now, cut that out.

Cultural tip: The sign INCOMPETENT (version 1) can be done on your ear to mean "deaf." It is okay for Deaf people to sign "DEAF/EARS INCOMPETENT" this way, however if a Hearing person signed "EARS INCOMPETENT" it would generally be considered inappropriate or even a bit rude.  Sort of like they were overstepping their boundaries. The "DEAF/EARS INCOMPETENT" sign in addition to conveying the idea of "blown speakrers" (ears that don't work) it also conveys an attitude of "belonging to the Deaf Community."  It's use denotes membership. Thus if that sign is used by non-members (such as sign language students) or by fringe members it doesn't seem appropriate.


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ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars

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