Language: Titles: The use of "be verbs" and articles.
In a message dated 9/3/2007 1:40:27 P.M.
Pacific Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
In ASL, are 'be' verbs and the articles used in the titles
of books and movies, etc?
"Be" verbs (is, am, are, was, were, etc.) and articles (the, an,
a) can be either spelled or omitted--depending on how precise
the signer wants to be. It is also very common for skilled
ASL signers to use "Signed English" to express "be" verbs" as
part of titles. Doing so might be referred to as "code
switching." When you are quoting a title that was coined in
another language, it is common to switch to that language in
order to quote the title exactly. If an English speaker wants
to refer to a book with a Spanish title, he or she will
generally quote the title in Spanish. For example, there is a
book called "La Vida Rica." I plan on buying it for my wife for
her birthday, (shhhh, don't tell). If I were to translate that
title into English it would be "The Life Rich" or more
accurately, "The Rich Life." If I go into a bookstore and ask
an employee to help me find the book, I would not ask for "The
Rich Life" -- rather I would code switch to Spanish and use the
actual Spanish title of the book since that is what it is listed
ASL instructors who follow the "prescriptive" approach will tend
to be more strict and tell you that you should spell the "be"
verbs and articles in titles.
ASL instructors who follow the "descriptive" approach will be
more flexible and point out to you that they see Deaf people
handling it titles in a variety of ways in the Deaf Community.
In 2007 a movie came out titled "The Simpsons Movie." If asking
someone whether they had already watched the movie it would be
common to sign, "MOVIE, S-I-M-P-S-O-N-S, YOU FINISH WATCH?" Or
even, "S-I-M-P-S-O-N-S MOVIE, WATCH FINISH YOU?" But suppose
months later you are at a video store and your Deaf friend is
standing at the online computer catalog and wants to know if the
store carries that movie and asks you what the title is--you
would likely sign either, "T-H-E SIMPSONS MOVIE" (fingerspelling
the word "the.") or "THE SIMPSONS MOVIE" (using the signed
English sign for "the").
So the rule is, "it depends."
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