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American Sign Language: "pale" or "Caucasian"

This sign comes from the idea of being "white in the face." It literally is a combination of the signs WHITE and "throw in face."   You start by signing WHITE then in one smooth movement you "throw the whiteness into your face." You don't actually make contact with the body during any part of this sign.  (I suppose you could touch your chest as part of the "WHITE" sign but compound signs like this generally drop such contact and/or any extra internal movements.)

PALE or Caucasian:


The difference between the sign "PALE" and the sign "Caucasian" is a combination of context and facial expression.  In general when you sign "PALE" you widen your eyes a bit and distend your face a bit. (By "distend" I mean that you might drop your jaw (but not open your lips), tilt your head back slightly, and/or half-furrow/half-raise your eyebrows.  The point is that people who turn pale due to fright or medical reasons tend to have a distressed look on their face.  But if you are just discussing "pale color" in general you would use one of these approaches:
1. Do the sign a bit higher up, use a very gentle motion, and a facial expression as if you are lighltly blowing on something.
2. Spell the word P-A-L-E (for identifying specific colors in situations where the specific English name or brand could be important).
3.  Use the sign "LIGHT-weight/color." 
Obviously if you are only discussing color (rather than a medical condition) you are not going to use a scared or distressed facial expression. (Unless your wife is discussing the color of the new curtains and furniture she is planning on having you buy. Heh. Love you honey.)

You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University
ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars

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