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American Sign Language: "dead"


DEAD / die:



Memory aid: Think of "rolling over in your grave."  Or how about, "Fish turn belly up when they die."

It is very common to see the sign "dead" done with just one hand.

Also see: DEATH


There are those who will tell you that if someone dies you "should" sign "DEAD." That however ignores the fact that many, many Deaf sign things like: "YEAR-past MY MOM GONE" to mean "I lost my mom last year."

English uses euphemisms.
ASL uses euphemisms.

English speakers generally do not run around telling other English speakers "No, you can't say you lost your mom last year. You have to say 'Last year my mom died!'"

Equal rights for ASL signers: We have the right to use euphemisms.

The GONE sign is an "acceptable" euphemism for DEAD in ASL.

However the sign "LOST / lose / unknown whereabouts" -- is not an ASL euphemism for DEAD.

"GONE" yes. (Can in context mean "dead.")
"LOST" no. (Would seem odd or inappropriate if used to mean "dead." So don't use it to mean dead.)


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