7/29/2014: A community member writes:
I have some comments in response to your dictionary entry for <<CHAT>>.
In relation to the comment by Johnny on 6.6.06 about your use of "a more
‘Deaf face’” with version 2, I can say that I’ve only known version 1,
and have learned to expect and use that “Deaf face” mouth shape with
that sign. (Maybe there’s a more correct term for “mouth shape”?) I have
seen Deaf people use version 1 in relation to Deaf people chatting with
each other, but maybe you’re right that it gets used less for that than
version 2 does. Maybe I’ve been exposed less to version 2 because I’m
not Deaf and have had fewer conversations about Deaf-only chatting. I
don’t know or remember if that mouth shape has a name, but I’ve learned
it to imply a casual attitude. I expect you’re aware of that, but maybe
some of your readers wouldn’t be (maybe including Johnny, since he said
he didn’t know how to explain what he was seeing). I use it in relation
to signs about casually walking around or casually looking around too,
for example. I do think of version 1 mainly in relation to chatting in
ASL, but I have used it in relation to people chatting in English too.
Since chatting is casual by definition, I’ve used that mouth shape in
that context too in order to more fully express that. I’m intrigued by
the distinctions you and Johnny perceive between the two versions of
<<CHAT>>, and look forward to exploring those possibilities further.
- [a person who wishes to remain anonymous]
Later that same day (7/29/2014) "Anon" writes:
I remembered the term “mouth morpheme” and did a keyword search on your
site to see if you used it. Found lots of good stuff about that, and
about other morphemes too. I look forward to reading more of it all.
This was particularly relevant to my previous comments:
Mouth morphemes are a part of ASL. This means
certain mouth movements are intrinsic to being able to accurately
represent ASL. Making a "th" -type of mouth shape is used to indicate
recklessness or carelessness. Using an "mm" mouth shape is used to show
that something is ordinary, uneventful, and being done or taking place
in a regular manner.
So I see that my using the term “mouth shape” in that context was
correct, and have learned or (probably) relearned from that passage that
that particular mouth shape I mentioned can be referred to as the “mm”
one. I appreciate your expanded definition of the meaning of the “mm”
mouth shape too. I expect that “mouth shape” is used in ASL linguistics
in a way similar to “handshape.”
there a more correct term for “mouth shape”?
Answer: Some people use the term "mouth morpheme"
but technically a mouth can have a shape that conveys has no specific
meaning. In linguistics (the study of language) the term "morpheme"
tends to mean something along the lines of: "A meaningful unit of
language that can't be broken down smaller without losing meaning."
The shape of the mouth is literally how the mouth, jaw, lips, and
tongue are all arranged. If that arrangement is intended to convey a
specific meaning it is considered to be a "mouth morpheme."
[ All of which is secondary to the question of whether or
not it is my mouth and if there is food in it and whether
that food is yummy or not. - Dr. Bill ]