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American Sign Language: "vegetable"

The sign for vegetable also means "vegetables."

Here's the way I sign "vegetables."  I just stick the tip of the index finger of a "V" handshape on my cheek and twist my hand twice.  The "V" pivots on the tip of the index finger.  The middle finger isn't touching the face.

VEGETABLES:  (Version 1)

I like the twisting version because the twisting movement is similar to the sign for FRUIT.

Many of my friends sign vegetables this way.  The "V" flips around and faces backward.  First the index finger touches the cheek, then the middle finger.


Even though I list this as "Version 2" doesn't mean it is any less popular of a sign. Many people use this "flip" version.

VEGETABLES:  (Version 2:  Animated example)


Some people just spell the letters "V-E-G."

VEGETABLES:  (Fingerspelled Version)


Note: Above I'm showing the letters very clearly, but quite often when spelled at high speed the "e" in "VEG" ends up being done by just bending the index and middle fingers (at the second and third knuckles into a bent-V handshape) and then smoothly twisting into a "G" handshape.  Or you may see VEG done with just two fingertips (index and middle) resting on the thumbnail section of the thumb.

Note:  If you do the twist on cheek version of the sign "vegetable" a little lower (on the side of your chin) it can be used to mean "vinegar."  This usually isn't a problem during a conversation. I just include it here so you can impress your friends with your knowledge of a sign that isn't well known. 

See:  "VINEGAR."

VEGETABLE: "listing method"
An older method of signing "vegetable" consisted of listing off several vegetables. Obviously that is a rather inefficient use of time and movement. However, I still get questions from online students about their local instructor having told them that the "true ASL" or "pure" method of signing "vegetable" is to list off a few vegetables.  Hmmm...I'd say that is the "old" method -- not the "pure" method.  On the other hand (heh) language sometimes evovles in a circular fashion and it is quite possible that this "older" method will make a comeback due to the ongoing backlash against the use of "initialization" in ASL. 

See:  Academic Diglossia


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ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars

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American Sign Language University ASL resources by Dr. William Vicars