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American Sign Language: "stubborn"

Notice the "stubborn" facial expression.



Note: Remember, "labels" for ASL signs are not the same as English words. They are not direct equivalents. I once saw a friend sign "T-O-Y-O-T-A ENGINE STUBBORN" and what he meant by it was that "Toyota engines don't quit, they are very reliable." 

The actual meaning of the sign STUBBORN depends greatly on context and the signer's apparent intent. If he/she has been talking positively about the reasons why he/she bought a Toyota vehicle and then signs that the engine is "stubborn" -- the context would indicate that he/she is using the STUBBORN sign to mean "dependable" or "reliable."
However if he/she were instead complaining about why he/she was late to work that morning and signed that his engine was STUBBORN it would likely mean that the engine would not start easily.

Note: The sign for "stubborn" is based on the sign for "donkey."  If you do the sign "stubborn" using a double movement and a neutral or friendly facial expression it means "donkey."


In a message dated 6/19/2003 8:10:32 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:
I was looking over the page for HORSE when you mention the sign for STUBBORN and I was wondering how you'd sign "Don't be stubborn." -- since you wouldn't sign BE. Would you just sign DON'T STUBBORN...?
Matt Williamson

Dear Matt,

Stubbornness "is" a state of being, thus you don't need to add a separate sign such as "BE" to indicating "being." I suppose if it were really important to get across some sort of "state of being" concept in your "Don't be stubborn" sentence you could sign DON'T ACT STUBBORN (using the ACT/DRAMA/THEATER) sign - but that sentence would imply that the person is merely putting on an "act" and that he/she deep down isn't stubborn.  You could just sign "STOP STUBBORN!" or you could sign, YOU STUBBORN! FINISH-(one handed version, as in "cut it out").  You could also use the specific sign for "don't" the one that look like a smaller version of how a baseball umpire signs "safe."  Thus you could sign "YOU STUBBORN, DON'T!" -- which could be interpreted along the lines of "This stubbornness of yours -- I'll have none of it!"

See: DON'T

-- Dr. Bill


Note:  Some people use the sign STUBBORN to mean "brat" -- but that version of "brat" is not widespread.

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