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American Sign Language: "make"

WARNING: The sign "MAKE" is different from the sign "coffee."  In the sign for "coffee" the top hand does a rotational movement as if turning the crank of an (old fashioned/antique) coffee grinder--thus only one hand moves.  But for the sign "make" BOTH hands twist as if screwing something together.  See COFFEE
Each semester a couple of my students lose points on tests because they didn't pay attention to the difference between these two signs.

The sign for "make" has a couple of popular versions.

In one version you put the fists one on top of the other and use a twisting movement.  Do the movement twice. The hands "stay" in contact with each other. 

Sample sentence: 

Sample sentence:
Do you know how to make soup?


There is another version of the sign for "make." In this version, the hands come apart.

MAKE (version 2)

If you mean "make" as in "necking," see: "MAKE-OUT"

If you mean "make" as in "force" see: "FORCE"

If you mean "make" as in, "I can't make it." Sign "I can't" and then sign "GO" or spell "do it."

Also compare: COFFEE

Also see this note regarding: CREATOR


In a message dated 10/31/2012 2:19:01 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, a student writes:

Dear Dr. Bill,
Is it proper to use the sign for "make" when saying
things like " I will make you go home"" or " you made me angry". It
isn't so much a manufacturer like in the examples you provide. If not,
what do you recommend for instances like that, the sign force? I think
it might be too strong.
Thank you!
(Name on File)

Dear ASL Hero,
Hello :)
I concur that the sign FORCE is too strong when striving to convey the phrase "you make me angry."

Instead I recommend restructuring your sentence and using either the WHEN sign or the HAPPEN sign in situations where you want to tell someone they "make you" feel something.
For example:

If you want to ascribe more of a "cause" and effect, you cause use the CAUSE sign.
For example:

Another method would be to use the sign INFLUENCE, but adapt it a bit so that it is aimed backward over the back of the non-dominant hand toward you the signer -- thus meaning "INFLUENCE-me."
For example:

Another approach would be to use a rhetorical question. For example:
I/ME ANGRY WHY-rhet? YOU ARRIVE LATE! (Note: The WHY-rhet would use raised eyebrows rather than the usual furrowed brows since you are not asking for a reason, you are pseudo asking if the person wants to know why you are late which would be a yes or no type question -- if you were actually asking a question).

So, keeping in mind that there are plenty of very appropriate ways to get the "you make me feel" type of concept across without using the MAKE/manufacture/create/produce sign -- I will now say that in "real life" many of us Deafies do indeed use the MAKE sign in such situations. That doesn't mean we are using "appropriate ASL" it just means that the individual is bilingual and he/she is choosing to mix and match his/her vocabulary choices in a bit of a language mash-up. The longer such "mashing-up" goes on and the more people that do it -- the stronger the likelihood that one day such usage shall be considered "standard." No one individual will make that decision for the community, rather, if it happens it will be thousands of individuals making the decision until so many do it that anyone who doesn't do it will look or feel "out of sync." We are not at the tipping over point yet on increasing the semantic range of the sign "MAKE" but many individuals have indeed started leaning.
Best to you.
Dr. Bill

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