In a message dated 9/24/2014 10:20:27 A.M. Pacific Daylight
Time, Chad Fisher writes:
Hi Dr. Bill,
I've written to you, I think only twice before. This time
my question may be a bit out of the ordinary.
In linguistics in college we learned about various filler
words in other languages. In English in particular these
are words that are like "Um" or "uh-huh" when its just to
show that you are at least pretending to be interested in
what the other person is saying. Or like when my co-worker
says "Blah-blah-Blah etc." so fast that you can't get even
get a thought in and then says "well one day I went to blah
blah blah." Filler words like "um", "well", and "so" can be
extremely common, but they don't necessarily mean anything
in the context of the dialogue (or in my co-workers case
monologue), and even the word "like" as I have used it in
this post is um like well just another filler word.
Anyways, I think you get the idea.
My question is, what are some filler signs (with the English
gloss if you wouldn't mind) that are used in ASL. I
recently read about a sign for "UM" than uses an 8 hand on
the chin somewhat like the "Light" sign... but I don't know
how common that usage actual is in the real world.
Chad A. Fisher
Yes, certainly ASL has filler signs.
I personally don't think that "8"-on-the-chin version of "UM" will
gain any substantial traction in the Deaf Community. To me it just
seems very awkward and unnatural.
I'll post a video below of myself doing some "filler" signs.
"Ah, give me a moment, um, trying to think of it, there was
something -- its on the tip of my brain, oh-I-see, yes, that's
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