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American Sign Language: "spoon" and "fork"

Make the sign for "spoon" by forming the letter "h" with the right hand. Place your left palm facing upward.  Lift the right hand from your left hand toward your mouth a few times.


A student asks:  What is the difference between the signs "spoon" and "soup?"

Dr. Bill responds: I differentiate between the two by making the sign for spoon a little faster and keep my right hand closer to the left hand. (The right doesn't travel as close to the mouth when signing spoon as it does when sign soup).  Also, when signing spoon I also tend to "drop" the bowl (left hand) after I ladle out of it twice with the spoon.  What I mean is I hold the left hand in a cupping shape then I use the right index and middle finger (in a slightly curved "u" or "h" shape)  to represent the spoon.  I scoop the "spoon" into the palm of my left hand twice and then I immediately "drop/relax" my left-hand while still holding the right hand for an extra moment or two.  By relaxing or dropping the left hand but continuing to keep the right hand in the "spoon" shape it emphasizes that I'm talking about a spoon. 

For the sign, "soup" I keep the left hand "in the picture" until the end of the sign. If you really need to be clear, you can hold the bowl higher and bring the "spoonful of soup" to within a couple inches of your mouth to emphasize the "soup" aspect of the sign. But generally that isn't necessary because your meaning is usually obvious from the rest of your sentence.

"What kind of soup do you like?" = SOUP, YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND?


Make the sign for "fork" by forming your dominant hand into the letter "V."  Poke the palm of your non-dominant hand a couple times.


Note: Some people do this sign with a "W" hand instead of a "V" hand. I sort of like the "W" version better because it looks less like the signs for "stand" or "jump." But the "V" hand version is a solid sign and okay to use, but only in context.


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