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American Sign Language: "womb"


Sandy writes:
Dr. Bill:
I am recently trying to translate an English word into sign language and cannot find a 'phrase' or action for it other than to spell it out.  I am new at sign language but would like to take a course in it.  I find my church, among other things going on in my life right now, has a need to learn sign as a second language.
Could you please help me find a sign for 'womb'?  I can't seem to find it in the ASL dictionary or in 'Signing Made Easy" text books.
If you can help, thank you.  If not, I will simply [spell] the word.  It is in a Christian song and it would have to be signed quickly in order to keep pace with the melody.
Thank you for your time.

Hi Sandy,
There is no "widely established" sign for womb. I asked my wife and she didn't have a specific sign for it either.  She started making up some weird sign like doing a mini-cradle in the belly. Heh. I thanked her for her time and excused myself.
If I were discussing this in a workshop, I'd spell it on first reference and then I'd use the following sign to indicate the relative shape and location of a "womb."  Is that the "right" sign.  Not necessarily. In the context of the workshop and considering that I associated the sign with the concept--everybody at that workshop would likely develop a consensus that it was a "good enough" sign for womb.  But I couldn't walk up to a colleague and do that sign "out of context" and expect him or her to understand.
Also, since you are doing a song, you have a bit more poetic license and might want to consider just signing "pregnant" using the interlaced fingers version.
-- Dr. Bill


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