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American Sign Language: "information"


The sign for "information" is based on the sign for "inform" which in turn is related to the sign for "learn."

To remember the sign for information it helps to think of it as meaning "taking knowledge from your head and dispersing (or handing it out) to the world."

Generally the sign uses two hands.  The handshapes at the beginning of the sign are in "flattened-O" shapes.  The dominant hand is held very close to your forehead (it can touch but usually doesn't). It is "palm back" and the fingertips (and thumb) are pointed at the brain.  The non-dominant hand is held a bit lower and further from the head. It too is palm-back.
 

You then move both hands forward and off to their respective sides using a sweeping movement and open each hand into palm-up 5-handshapes.. By that I mean your right hand moves forward and off to the right while your left-hand moves forward and off to the left. 

Picture it as you have just reached up to your brain, grabbed some information and flung it out to the public.
 

Another thing to consider about this sign is that the dominant hand begins in pretty much the same position as the "ending position" it is in for the sign LEARN.  In the sign LEARN the premise is that you are reaching down to grab some information off of your palm and stuff it in your head.  Then for the sign INFORMATION you are reaching up to your head to grab some information and fling it out to those around you.

Another aspect of this sign is that the noun form "information" is differentiated from the verb form "INFORM" by the movement path.  In the sign INFORMATION we use a curved (arching) movement path. (One hand curving off to the right, the other hand curving off to the left.) In the sign INFORM we use a straight movement path that moves toward the person being informed if that person is present. If the person is not present then the sign INFORM still uses a straight movement path but the direction is off toward the dominant side as an "absent referent." Meaning that you are signing INFORM-he/she as if he or she were standing off to that side. But the person to whom you are referring isn't really there. He or she is absent.  You are referring to him or her but he or she is absent hence the term "absent referent."
 


[Insert graphic here.]
 


See: INFORM


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