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American Sign Language:  BEAR

The sign for "bear" is done by crossing your arms over your chest and clawing your chest twice. The sign ends with the fingers in the claw shape.


There isn't a widely established sign for "grizzly." It is generally fingerspelled, and if necessary, introduced using signs like "LARGE, BROWN." Then for the rest of the conversation the sign BEAR means grizzly. If for whatever reason you needed to use both the word "bear" and the word "grizzly" frequently in the same conversation you would stick to signing BEAR and spelling G-R-I-ZZ-L-Y. The double "ZZ" in grizzly would be done with a bent "V" hand.  In my own repeated spelling of grizzly I noticed that eventually I lexicalized the spelling to the point where I dropped one of the "Z's" which allowed me to use the single index finger to transition from a "Z" into an "L" very quickly.


Since the word "cub" is so short, it is generally fingerspelled in adult conversation. If introducing the concept you would use signs like "SMALL" (two hands, slightly curved, showing size) and "BABY."

Also see: FOX

Also see: WOLF

In a message dated 2/27/2013 3:28:53 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, dauzatheather writes:

Dear Dr.Bill,
I am 14 years old and because of a tv show that involves deaf characters, I have become interested in ASL for the past few months. Currently, I am learning the signs to one of my favorite songs. However, I am confused on the proper sign to use for the word 'bear'. The line in the song is "Your hand fits in mine like its made just for me, but bear this in mind, it was meant to be." I know the sign for the ANIMAL bear, but not when it is used in this situation. Could you please help me? Thank you so much :)
- Heather

The phrase "bear this in mind" would be signed with one ASL sign such as REMEMBER or (in some circumstances: WARN/caution).
- Dr. Bill

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