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American Sign Language: "Reversal of Orientation for negation"


There are a few ASL signs that can reverse their orientation to express the opposite of what the original sign meant.
 

For example: the sign WANT:



...can be changed into DON'T-WANT by doing the sign "WANT" then reversing the movement (and the orientation of the hands).



Note that doing a negative headshake and a negative facial expression helps emphasize the concept of "don't."
 


Some of the other signs that use reversal of orientation for negation include:

 

You can reverse the orientation of  LIKE to mean DON'T-LIKE
You can reverse the orientation of  KNOW to mean DON'T-KNOW
You can reverse the orientation of GOOD to mean BAD


If you think of or see other signs that use the principal of "reversal of orientation for negation--let me know.*

Almost all other signs though can NOT use reversal of orientation for negation.
Here are just a few examples of signs that cannot use reversal of orientation for negation:
You cannot  reverse "HAVE"
You cannot  reverse "HAPPY"
You cannot  reverse "WASH"
 

However there are a few signs that have "opposites" or show the "converse" of something (but are not negations) based on orientation such as "come / go," "up / down," and "yours / mine."
 


* A hearty thanks to Mathieu Roy for suggesting "good and bad."


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