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American Sign Language: "chips"

I recommend you just spell C-H-I-P-S. 
Note: It is common to drop the "S."  For example you'll see people sign POTATO and then spell C-H-I-P to ask if you want some "potato chips."



Fingerspelled "C-H-I-P-S" animation:



CHIPS:  (Variation)

It is based on concept of the right hand thumb representing a knife or peeler and the left hand representing a potato.  Make two quick downward and forward movements as if you were slicing a potato to make chips.  The thumb scrapes along the back of the "palm-down" left fist.

See "CHIPS" - (version) animated

Also see: POTATO


When I was younger I used to think that the "CHIPS" sign above was just a made up sign we used around the Vicars house, otherwise known as a "home-sign."  It was useful for one of our daughters, Sarah, who doesn't have any joints in her fingers. (Sort of hard to fingerspell words like "C-H-I-P-S" when you can't bend your fingers.)

It is fairly common for Deaf households to come up with "home signs" to refer to things that may not have commonly recognized signs outside of the home. (Note: I don't recommend Hearing people "invent" signs because Hearing people who are not immersed in the culture tend to create home-signs that conflict with existing signs and/or are embarrassingly inappropriate. When in doubt whether a sign is offensive or not -- ask a Deaf person.) 

I originally posted the variation of the sign for CHIPS here with an explanation that it was a "home-sign" so that people could appreciate the fact that this language came into being as a direct result of people adapting to their circumstances. Back then, (when I first posted it) I figured it would be unlikely to see this sign done outside my home.  I posted, "Who knows?  Maybe it will catch on?"

Well it seems many others have also "came up with this sign" and/or it has spread very quickly.   See below.
-- Dr. Bill



In a message dated 10/26/2007 1:03:37 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, mtew@ writes:
Just thought I would let you know, I was looking at the sign you said is a home-sign for chips, however that is how my daughter learned it down here in Florida.  Maybe it has already started to catch on??  Thanks for all of your help!!
Monica J. Tew

In a message dated 10/27/2007 11:00:23 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Dr. Bill writes:

Thanks for mentioning that.
I think you are right.  The use of this sign has spread far and wide.
I saw it the other day being used by a graduate of the California School for the Deaf, Fremont.
But instead of using an "S" hand (fist) for the base hand, she was using an index finger for the base hand and using the "C" hand as the moving, dominant hand.  I'll stick with the "S" and "C" variation for now, but it is interesting to see how quickly language can evolve. 
-- Dr.Bill

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ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars

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