A very popular version of the sign for "stepfather" uses the sign for "second" as in "second-hand" or "turn-taking." The sign for "second hand" has many meanings including,
"used" as in a "used car" or with a bit larger movement it can mean "your
turn." This is not meant to be an insult. In ASL it is simply a
way to refer to the idea that a stepfather is "taking a
turn at being someone's father."
In this version you combine the signs for "SECOND-HAND" and "FATHER."
STEP-FATHER (second-hand version)
It is also very common to simply spell S-T-E-P and then sign FATHER.
There is a version of stepfather that combines "FALSE" + "DAD."
I personally don't like using it for stepfather since I use it to mean "foster father."
STEPFATHER (false dad version)
There is a version of stepfather in which the index finger moves down and
back up using a very quick movement.
STEPFATHER: (one finger variation)
While I don't tend to use the "one finger" variation for STEPMOTHER, I got
an email from Dr. Lisalee Egbert. She uses the one-handed version for both
stepmother and stepfather.
Notes from Dr. Bill regarding the "one finger variation" of STEPFATHER and
A "one movement/one location" sign has an advantage over a "two movement/two
location" sign since the single movement sign has "economy" in its favor.
The "one finger" sign is a strong variation in some parts of the country and
I think it is actually increasing in popularity. I can certainly see why Dr.
Egbert would use it and I think it is a terrific sign. For me personally
though I think I'll still stick with the "second hand" version of
"stepfather/stepmother" as the version I teach my own classes. Also remember
the "safest" version will likely be to spell STEP when used as part of the
sign for "stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, etc."
STEPMOTHER: another version:
Just in case you are wondering, here is the sign for "STEP." This is
a version of the sign for walk that only takes "one step." Do
NOT use this sign as part of the sign for step-father during an ASL test
(unless you want to give your instructor a chuckle).
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