ASL Lessons | Bookstore | Library | ASL University Main ►


The concept of "password" is expressed in ASL using a combination of context and the sign PRIVATE.

If you are introducing the concept of "password" to a new conversation, at first you have very low context and thus, depending on the knowledge level of your conversation partner in regard to the topic you may want or need to add more information.

For example upon first usage of "password" in a conversation you may wish to fingerspell the word "password" and then sign PRIVATE

Some people may sign a combination of PRIVATE and WORD to mean password.

Occasionally you might see someone sign PASS and WORD to mean "password" but that is not recommended.
low-context version of password: PRIVATE-WORD
high-context version of password: PRIVATE

Low context becomes high context during a news report regarding computer security.   At the beginning of the report a reporter might choose to use the low context version of "password": [PRIVATE-WORD] Later, during that same news report after context has been established and the term "password" had been introduced the reporter may choose to simply sign "PRIVATE" to mean password.  It is likely (but not assured) that you will see a mouth movement that is somewhat similar to what the mouth would look like if someone were to say the word "password."  Don't think of this mouth movement as "saying" the word "password" but rather think of it as simply a type of mouth morpheme* that helps establish the meaning of what is being signed. For example -- some mouth movement in this case might help us distinguish that the person isn't intending "confidential" or "privacy." 


Thus we have: PRIVATE+[context] = "password"


* A morpheme is unit of meaning in a language that can't be broken down into smaller meaningful parts.


*  Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy
DONATE  (Thanks!)

Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)  

*  Also check out Dr. Bill's channel:

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