ASL Lessons | Bookstore | Library | ASL University Main ►

ASL: "Classifier: R"  (CL-R, CL:R)

For an explanation of "classifiers" in general, see: CLASSIFIERS

The "R" hand shape can be used to show objects that are classified as rope-like, braided, and/or twisted.
r.gif (298585 bytes)



All ASL classifiers are signs but not all signs are classifiers.
All ASL classifiers use hand shapes but not all hand shapes are classifiers. 
An ASL fingerspelled letter or a hand shape is not a classifier unless it is being actively used to depict the nature, relative location, or movement of the person, object, element, or concept being represented.

Everyday signs often begin as classifiers and over time compact into frozen forms.  Such signs used to be classifiers but have been used so extensively that the sign conveys little or no depictive information about the referent. We can refer to such "former classifiers" as "lexicalized classifiers" or "frozen classifiers." 

The sign "CIGAR" is not a classifier.  However at one point it may have started as a classifier depicting the general size, shape, location, and structure (rolled up leaves) of a typical cigar.
We use an "R handshape" in the sign "CIGAR." Cigars are generally tubular and traditionally are or were made from rolled tobacco leaves.
The current, widely accepted sign for "cigar" could be considered a frozen or lexicalized classifier.  If we sign CIGAR and then start moving that "R hand shape" in ways that depicted what the cigar was doing or how the cigar was being used we have "thawed or unfrozen" the sign and turned it into a classifier again. 

There are several versions of the sign for "donut" (doughnut).  At least 3 of the versions of donut use an R hand shape.  These signs are not (or no longer) classifiers but they were likely classifiers at one time depicting the size and shape of donuts including the concept of having been made from rolled up dough.

We also see an "R" hand shape for signs involving rope-like dough shapes such as a pretzel.



Also see: THICK





*  Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy
DONATE  (Thanks!)

Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)  

*  Also check out Dr. Bill's channel:

You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University  
ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars