The sign for "minute" also can be used to mean
"second" (depending on context).
The sign minute is generally done on the palm. You "tick" the right
"index finger" handshape forward as if it were the minute hand on a clock.
Although the finger does move, the movement is from the wrist,
not the finger. Note: This sign can also mean "moment," or "a second."
Sample sentence: How many minutes equal one hour?
Another very common way to sign "minute" is to use an "index finger" on both
hands. The tip of the non-dominant hand's index finger touches the wrist at
the base of the dominant hand. Only the dominant hand moves.
If you need to distinguish between a minute and a second you can use a
Or you can do a sentence like this: "One minute has how many seconds?"
You can sign, "Wait a minute," (the classic gesture) by just holding up a
finger. Use a bit of a thrusting movement and a small "set in place"
movement, as if setting a candlestick into its holder.
In a message dated 3/29/2004 9:06:46 PM Pacific Standard Time, OostermM@___.edu writes:
"I'm having a hard time telling the difference between a second and a
They both seem to have that fast ticking. What am I missing?"
- (name on file)
You aren't missing anything. MINUTE and SECOND are signed the same.
Yes, I know that is lame. Having two concepts that use the same exact
sign and rely on context (or a mouth movement) to distinguish between the two
meanings. For what it is worth, I didn't invent the language, I'm just teaching it to you.
In those sentences where it would not be clear, which meaning to apply, you
would spell the letters "M-I-N" or "S-E-C."
Otherwise, for the sign "second," make sure to do a
very quick twitch of the right hand in an "index finger" handshape. Have it do one
"tick" of the clock. The movement is from the wrist and pivots on
the heel of the other hand. The movement is small and fast.
depend on context to make the difference clear. If someone asks me how
long it takes to drive to work and I respond "15 MINUTE/SECOND," which meaning
fits? Obviously in that sentence it means "MINUTES."