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Idioms and Phrases in ASL 1

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Lisa Koch

on 11 January 2014

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Transcript of Idioms and Phrases in ASL 1

Idioms and Phrases in ASL
What is an idiom?
Idioms are “an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either grammatically or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements”.
Every language contains idioms and phrases used by people of all ages and cultures. Cultural and communication gaps will diminish by learning these expressions and will help to build a strong rapport between the Deaf/ Hard-of-Hearing and hearing peers.
In spoken languages, one word can have several different meanings without changing the phonological aspects of the word (Bellugi & Newkirk, 1981).
ASL users, ranging from young children to adults, incorporate idioms and phrases in everyday conversations.
These environments usually take place in various parts of the Deaf community, at home, at Deaf clubs, at schools, at gatherings, at the workplace or during outings.
Ultimately the goal of learning idioms will promote both hearing and Deaf communities to develop a better understanding of one another and thus, the communication barrier will be a thing of the past!
The following are examples of idioms and phrases used in ASL.
ASL PRO: proficient in ASL
H: S on both hands
O: Up
M: open/ close once
E: Mouth open/ close once
L: Front of body

Every idiom and phrase taught will include appropriate use of handshape (H),palm orientation (O) movement (M) facial expressions (E) and sign location (L). .
H: Index finger to mouth then S
O: Down
M: Strike twice.
L: nondominant side of body
At a loss for words: speechless
Big wow: awesome
Back up
Barely: hardly: scarcely: hard to come by

H: 5
O: Inward
M: Index finger touches chin repeatedly
L: Front of chin

Better than nothing

H: 5
O: Inward then outward
M: Dominant hand 5 shape, index finger touches chin (LUCKY ME)
L: Front of chin, then ME

H: Open A both hands
O: Dominant hand: inward.
Nondominant hand: to dominant side.
M: Dominant A moves from front to behind nondominant A.
L: Front of body

Tool classifiers act as verbs, as in how to operate the tool.
Intrument classifiers ser as nouns, as in how the noun works.
Instrument and tool classifiers differ in 3 ways:
tool = signed with slow, long, repetative movements (hammering)
instrument = signed with fast, more repetative movements (hammer)
tool classifiers often signed with facial grammar
Body classifiers use visual/gestural communication as well as facial grammar and/or the signer's body to describe the actions or tendencies of a person.

A signer may use body classifiers to describe how a baseball player pitches or how a person walks.
Element classifiers are used to describe things that do not have a definite size and shape. They tend to be in constant motion, such as the elements of the earth: fire, water, wind, air, and light.

ECL:4 "a running faucet"
ECL:5wg "a candle flame"
ECL:1 (zig zag) "a flash of lightning"
ECL:flat O----->spread C "twinkling lights"
Plural classifiers can indicate a specific number or a non specific number.

PCL: 2 = two people walking
PCL: 4 = a line of people
PCL: v = people seated in a circle
Locative classifiers are used to show placement or spatial information about an object. They can sometimes show movement as well.
LCL:C /LCL:B = place a cup on a napkin
LCL:5 = leaf falling to the ground
LCL:LL = adjusting a picture frame
Thanks for learning ASL !
ASL, however, a shift in meaning is accompanied by a “shift in the dimension of the movement of a sign”. This shift can take place as an increase or decrease in rate or a change in the number of repetitions (just to name a few examples).
Easy as pie: piece of cake
H: C to S
O: Down
M: C close to S shape
L: Under chin
H: 5
O: Inward
M: back and forth
L: In front of face
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