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American Sign Language: "party"

The sign PARTY can be done with either "Y" handshapes or with "P" handshapes.
A colleague emailed me to say that "PARTY" and "PLAY" are distinguished by differences in the movement of the signs:
PLAY:  Arms stay stationary, wrists twist.
PARTY:  Wrists stay straight, arms swing back and forth.
Of course, as is my way, I immediately started surveying a large number of skilled signers as to how they did the sign PARTY.
After quite a bit of research it seems fairly certain to me that both the "swinging" version and the "twisting" version are in widespread use and as time goes on the versions of "PARTY" that use a twisting movement are becoming increasingly popular.

An interesting note told to me by one of my interviewees, Erika Geiger (d/Deaf), was that while she was a student at CSD (Fresno) her class was planning an event.  During a planning meeting the students began discussing having a party as part of the event.  Erika did the sign "PARTY" using "P" hands and a twisting movement.  Her teacher replied that "ahem" it was going to be a "party" not a "partay!" (using "P" hands and a shaking movement), (spelling intentional.)  Erika explained to me how the teacher deliberately inflected an "old stuffy" sign for PARTY (a controlled, somewhat slower, larger, side to side swinging movement using "P" hands) to emphasize that this would be a classy "party" and not a rowdy party.

Variation 1:
Do a side to side swinging movement using "Y" hands.
Insert graphic here:


Variation 2:
Do a side to side swinging movement using "P" hands.
Insert graphic here:


Variation 3:
Do a twisting movement using "P" hands.

Variation 4:
Do a twisting movement using "Y" hands
Note: This is the same sign as "PLAY."



Optional Reading (not needed for class)

In a message dated 1/18/2006 2:16:06 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
    I was watching "Sue Thomas, F B Eye" last week and stepped away for a minute. I got back in time to hear "what's that sign?" "It means 'Party Pooper'"-but I didn't see the sign clearly. Do you know a sign for that? It looked like a two-part sign, and part of it may have been "boring". Could be a fun sign.
        I work at Salt Lake Community College. I am "relearning" Sign Language after a 30-year "hiatus". (Learned some sign at a former job. My department now has a "Fast Track" program for training interpreters, and the coordinator and support person are Deaf. Another coworker is an student interpreter.)
        Great website, by the way.

Hello Anita,
Hmmm, "party pooper" eh?  I don't recall seeing a specific sign or set of signs for that.  I just asked Belinda, my wife, heh...she didn't know of a specific sign or set of signs that was regularly associated with the English phrase "party pooper."
I'll ask around though.  If I find one, I'll let you know.  If you find one, let me know. Did you ask any of your SLCC people yet?

I've asked around and it seems the consensus pretty much as expressed by one of my coworkers, (Dr. Don Grushkin), he writes:
I, too don't know of any sign for this.  If you do find one, let me know, although I suspect you won't -- my curiosity is piqued....  It is my suspicion that whatever Deanne Bray signed on the show was probably an "ad hoc" set of signs which could be interpreted as "party pooper" but is not a conventionalized term (although if it spreads then it would be...). 

In a message dated 1/20/2006 10:12:43 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
same here but i vaguely recall someone locally or out-towner signed like "party-complain" or "party-bored"... again that cld be my imagination, sigh...

Lyes Bousseloub

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