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hot air balloon

In a message dated 7/7/2007 3:44:18 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, strvnwritr@ writes:
Hi Dr. Bill,
I am a writer and I am currently working on a book about teaching sign language to hearing babies. I realized that in all of the classes I have taken on the subject and in all of the research I have done, I have not come across a sign for "hot air balloon." Is there such a sign? If so, could you possibly explain its formation to me? I greatly appreciate your help with this matter!
Teresa R. Simpson
Memphis, TN
When first introducing the concept of a "hot air balloon" into adult conversation you would typically sign HOT and spell A-I-R B-A-L-L-O-O-N.
I note that when fingerspelling the word "balloon" at extremely high speed as part of this phrase that I tend to skip the second "L" and the second "O." 
Now, I realize that fingerspelling isn't all that fascinating or easy.  After you have introduced the concept of a "hot air balloon" you can represent that balloon by using classifiers to show what it looks like and how it moves:
Pretend you are a right-handed giant.  Hold onto the basket of the balloon with your left hand as if holding a glass of water (your hand is in a "C" shape."  Place your right hand palm down on top of the balloon in a loose claw-shape showing the roundness of the balloon.
Then float your "balloon" through the air about 20 centimeters while blowing a bit of air through your lips with slightly puffed cheeks.  Do this "sign" somewhat higher than your normal signing space to help show it is something that is "up in the air."
If a group of skilled signers were planning a hot air balloon trip the above "sign" would eventually become smaller and smaller and involve less and less movement until it became standardized as a quick "C"/"claw" "sign" easily recognized by members of that group.  On the other hand, many of them would simply spell "balloon" and it would be "assumed/understood" to mean "hot air balloon."
Dr. Bill

American Sign Language University ASL resources by Dr. William Vicars
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