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easy: The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "easy"

Compare with: ALMOST

 

When doing the sign for easy (if you are right handed) the right hand brushes up twice against the left hand fingers. The left hand doesn't move.  Let me say that again, the left hand is stationary.  The only movement in the left hand is a slight bending of the fingers as the right hand brushes upward against it.  See: Easy: https://youtu.be/HD10hA6FKFs


EASY:


Sample sentence: Do you think this class is easy?



 



Notes:
If you do this sign with a single motion this sign will mean "almost."
See: ALMOST


Also see: SIMPLE



 

Topic: "EASIER"

QUESTION:
Dr. Bill -
I am just learning ASL at age 62. I feel like I'm doing well, considering social isolation and my age! This question has come up and there is no one to ask...
The current situation is bad - it may never get easy, but we hope it will get easier. In that sentence, the difference between "easy" and "easier" is important but I can't seem to find "easier" on your site or any other. I've seen moving a thumb to point over your right shoulder to make a word sort of more, but I don't know if that works here.
- Debra

ANSWER:
Hello Debra!
You are seeking the ASL equivalent of the word "easier" which is a comparative adjective form of the word "easy." 

The easiest (heh) way of signing "easier" is to simply add the ASL suffix "-ER" to the sign EASY. (The ASL suffix "-ER" consists of an open-A hand / "thumb up" that moves upward a short distance.)

Another way to express the concept of "easier" is to use a contrastive structure (in your sentence) by comparing something that is easy with something that is easier.  To do this you lean or point to your non-dominant side and mention that something is "easy" (using the normal sign for "easy") -- then you lean or point to your dominant side and indicate that something else is "easier" (using an exaggerated sign for "easy" with a large movement, more facial expression, and an affirming head nod). Thus the concept of "-er" (as in "more so") is being expressed not by an added sign but rather by inflecting (modifying) the way you sign "easy" and doing so using "contrastive" sentence structure (comparing something on one side with something else on the other side).

Here is some homework for you. Check out the following video:
Superlatives and Comparatives in ASL: https://youtu.be/7T_pxoNWs3o

Another approach is to sign:
"MORE EASY."
Or "MORE EASY THAN."

Consider your sentence as a whole.  If you are discussing a "hard situation that will get easier" you might want to just sign "SITUATION IMPROVE WILL"

For example, your sentence: 
"The current situation is bad - it may never get easy, but we hope it will get easier."

Could be signed as:
NOW SITUATION BAD. FUTURE BECOME EASY? MAYBE NEVER? BUT, FUTURE SITUATION IMPROVE WE HOPE.

Or another version could be:
NOW SITUATION BAD. FUTURE BECOME EASY? MAYBE NEVER? BUT, WE HOPE FUTURE SITUATION MORE EASY.

While I do not recommend it for all situations of "-er" -- sometimes an option to express "this is easier than that" is to sign the "beats" sign then sign EASY. 
This can create a meaning of:  "This beats that in terms of easiness" -- but you have to be careful to use such signing only in high context situations because signing "BEAT-[right-to-left] EASY" also can create the meaning of "this easily beats that."
See: "override-[this-BEAT-that] / prevail"
https://youtu.be/femhWu3HFRI 
 

Also, you said that you saw an example of "moving a thumb to point over your right shoulder to make a word sort of more." 

I'd advise you regarding comparatives and superlatives (such as the suffixes "-er" and "-est") that the movement is "not" over the shoulder but rather the movement is up.

To be specific the  the movement of the "open-A" hand (of signs involving "-er" and/or "-est") is "up" (not over your dominant shoulder).

Why?  If you do an open-A hand over or toward your dominant shoulder you run the risk of looking like your are signing "WON'T (as in "refuse to do something"). 
See: WON'T: https://youtu.be/u2W72GqhsaM



 

 




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