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American Sign Language: "shortcomings"



In a message dated 1/21/2008 5:20:20 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, lwilt@ writes:
Hi, Dr. Bill,
 I have a question for you – what is the difference between using the sign for “blame, accuse” to indicate “fault” versus the sign where the hand drops down from “responsibility”? do either of these signs represent the concept of ‘having many faults’ (shortcomings)?
Thanks for your help!
Linda Wilt


Dear Linda,
"Shortcomings" would not use the sign "FAULT."  The sign "FAULT" generally means "responsibility for something bad."
Shortcomings would be described with phrases such as:
"HE/SHE PROBLEMS MANY!"
"HE/SHE WEAK MANY!"
"HIS/HER CHARACTER? SO-SO."
"HE/SHE not-GOOD-ENOUGH."
Such phrases would be accompanied by non-manual markers (facial expressions/body language) such as a "scrunched nose."

The "BLAME" sign can mean "accuse," "It is your/my/his/her/its fault" or "blamed." This sign is directional thus it can indicate who or what is "at fault" or who is being "accused" as well as who is doing the accusing.

The FAULT sign is non-directional and needs a sign such as "YOUR," "MY," or "HIS/HER" to indicate the object. This sign cannot be used directly to indicate "accusation." You would need to sign, "SHE INFORM-me your-FAULT" or "SHE TOLD-me YOUR FAULT."
(Also see "RESPONSIBLE")  (Also see "BLAME")
-- Bill



In a message dated 1/21/2008 10:11:12 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, lwilt@ writes:
Ok, so besides one being directional and one needing a possessive pronoun both signs [blame and fault] mean the same thing?



In a message dated 1/21/2008 1:46:28 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, Dr. Bill writes:
Linda,
No. Each sign has its own semantic range (a range of meanings). The semantic ranges of the two signs do overlap, but not completely.
If you look the words up in an English dictionary you will note that the word "fault" has about twice as many meanings as the word "blame."
The ASL sign FAULT only expresses two or three of the meanings of the word "fault."
The meanings of the word "blame" generally contain the concept of "to" as in "to find fault," "to accuse," "to attribute."
I generally think of the ASL sign "FAULT" as being limited to meaning "responsibility for some negative occurrence or situation."
The ASL sign BLAME carries a wider semantic range than the ASL sign "FAULT."
- Dr. Bill

 



In a message dated 10/12/2009 1:38:20 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, benkcboy@ writes:
An additional sign related to the word shortcomings that I have seen commonly used both in the Pacific Northwest and in New York State is as follows:
The sign for MATCH is signed slightly higher than usual, and then a moment after completion, one hand falls off (downward) giving the idea that the requirements were not met, you fell short of the qualifications, etc.
 -- Benjamin

Benjamin,

Hey, thanks for sharing that!  Very cool!
-- Dr. Bill
 


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