ASL Week Eight (notes)


Hello dear ones! How are you today? Sign to me: Are you well? Happy? Sad? Depressed?? Today we are going to learn some adjectives (generally describe nouns) and adverbs (generally describe verbs). Remember that because sign language has a different syntax and grammar, we–generally speaking–will do the noun first, and then describe it. For example, in English, we would say that we discovered this old dusty book (adjectives are first, noun (or subject) is last. In sign language, we would say BOOK + OLD + DUSTY.

One way we use adjectives is for comparison. We use words such as big, bigger, biggest. Tiny, tinier, tiniest. Then we have other ways that we use comparative adjectives; pleasant, more pleasant, most pleasant; frightful, more frightful, most frightful…etc. In sign language, generally speaking, if you use the sign “BIG” you use the same sign to indicate “bigger” but you use more emphasis or, take your closed “A” hand, thumb out, and jack it up in the air to indicate “BIG-GER.” Non manual markers (NMM), again, play an important role here. Don’t always look for more signs, but rather, take the sign for the word and emphasize it; make the sign itself bigger or smaller to get the concept across. It’s all about making yourself understood and that’s not always going to be a word-for-word transliteration; but rather learning how deaf people sign differently, think visually, and are not self conscious about making themselves clearly understood.

Adverbs-words like quickly, slowly, cautiously, quietly, swiftly can many times be incorporated into the VERB you are signing. If you sign “TO RUN”  you would incorporate the adverb into the sign “RUN” acting it out so that your hands are doing the running “quickly” or “slowly” etc. This is a very visual lesson, so probably the classroom will be a better place to “get” this concept.

We also want to talk today about “negating” a sign. We have learned the sign for “NO” and the sign for “NOT” but you can also incorporate the connotation of “negative” into the sign. If you don’t want to go somewhere, you can sign “go” and shake your head from side to side, or add the sign “NOT” to the end of the “GO.”  Your non manual markers come in handy at this point. Remember to scrunch of your face to indicate you “DON’T LIKE” something. Don’t by shy about making faces in order to communicate effectively to a deaf person.

Quiz: fingerspelling, plus numbers and phrases answerkey-wk8

Conversational phrase: How old are you?

Introduce the “wh-” questions: Where, When, Why, Who, What, Which?

Signs we learned this week: Adjectives- black, white, blue, red, yellow, green, brown, purple. Pretty, ugly, thin, fat, big, small, long , short, sweaty, hot, cold, old, young.

Deaf culture: How do you think deaf people wake up in the morning? Remember the story I told you about the doorbell light that flashed off and on when someone “rang” the doorbell? Well the same is true for a deaf person’s alarm clock. They have a light that starts out a bit dim, and gets brighter and brighter as you ignore it…and then maybe if you’re a deaf kid who is much like a hearing kid and has trouble getting up, instead of your mom yelling at the bottom of the stairs, a mom of a deaf kid may have to throw a pillow or stomp her foot on the floor really hard to get that sweet child up and out of bed.


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