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American Sign Language: "squash"


A mother (marykolasinski@) writes:

Dear Dr. Vicars,

....  I’ve been teaching my 9-month-old son ASL, as fast as I can learn it.  I’ve run into a few stumbling blocks as far as vocabulary, and I’ve exhausted my searches of all the books and websites I can find.

 I’m looking for the ASL sign for “squash” (the food)... I don’t like to use “made up” signs, and my son’s getting old enough now that he seems confused by me signing generic “food.”
- Mary K.

There is no widely established sign for "squash."  (Which you've found out by looking for it in various books and websites without success).
Most adults would simply spell "S-Q-U-A-S-H" quickly.  If needed, you can be describe it by using showing the shape and by explaining the colors.

After spelling "S-Q-U-A-S-H" I suppose your could close the drapes and squish a dominant hand FIST into a base hand PALM with a single, exaggerated movement.  Or use the heel of a five hand and mash it into the palm of your other hand.  It is important to pack a knapsack with fresh underwear prior to doing this because soon the ASL Police will show up at your door and cart you away for using a "made up sign." 

Good luck in your ASL endeavors.
Dr. Bill 

p.s. Seriously though, I'm glad to see you are cautious about using "made up signs."  The problem with "made up" signs is that they tend to conflict with real signs (sometimes with hilarious or embarrassing results).  That "fist into palm" movement (above) isn't too bad though -- it is generally used to mean "mashed" as in "mashed potatoes."  That other "sign" (above) actually does mean the verb "to squash" but may raise an eyebrow (or a smirk) if done outside the home to mean the noun / vegetable "squash."

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