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American Sign Language: "learn"

The sign for "learn" sort of looks like you are trying to grab information from the page of a book and stuff it into your head. 

 

LEARN:  Memory hint:  Think of grabbing information from a book or piece of paper and placing it in your head.


LEARN:  Here is a variation.  Notice how it doesn't make it all the way up to the head?  It still means learn--it is just a more casual way to sign it that takes less effort.


STUDENT (or "Learner"  =  "LEARN-PERSON")


A student asks: On the practice quiz, one of the questions shows a double motion of the sign for "LEARN."  I checked the answer list and found that it means "learning."  I don't recall seeing this in any of the lessons. Can I apply this as a general rule (with exceptions) to all verbs? That'd be cool.

Response:  Many verbs can be inflected (change the meaning of) by changing the movement.  If you do them once they are the standard verb, if you do them twice they might either become a noun (like SIT becomes CHAIR) or they become a process (for example, "teach" becomes "teaching").


In a message dated 8/21/2003 1:19:12 PM Central Daylight Time, adeletc@yahoo.com writes:

Hi! This is Adele here. I don't know if you remember me... I sent you an email a couple weeks ago... Anyway, I have a couple of questions for you. First question: I'm having a hard time understanding the sign for LEARN... I don't have anyone to practice these signs with, so I'm not sure if I'm doing it
right.

Adele,
A hint for the sign "learn" is to hold your left hand out and pretend there is "information" sitting on the palm. Pick up that information with your fingertips and thumbtip and lift it up and stick it in your head through your forehead.
That is the "full" version of the sign.
A more casual version is to lift the "information" off the left palm but only bring it partway toward the head.
Look in the mirror and see if it looks like my example in the pictures.  Plus, try to find a Deaf friend to sign with.
Bill


In a message dated 8/25/2003 1:15:16 PM Pacific Daylight Time, adeletc@yahoo.com writes:

Dear Dr. Bill,
Thank you so much for your wonderful responses! I found them most interesting. Anyway, I now understand the sign for LEARN, but my problem is, I was doing that sign for STUDENT. So I
think I was signing STUDENT wrong. Are they similar signs?
-Adele

Adele,
The sign for student starts out the same as the sign for learn and then uses the "agent" suffix. That means that you add the "person sign" sign "PERSON" to the sign LEARN to make the sign mean STUDENT.
In real life, deaf people often abbreviate the sign student and it looks sort of like you are throwing away a piece of paper! The right hand grabs a piece of "something" from the left palm then both hands become "flat hands" (palms facing inward) and move down a couple inches.
- Dr. Bill



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