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American Sign Language: "Question Marks"

Daniel Hodson writes:
Hi Dr. Bill. On some other ASL-related sites, students are instructed to use the ASK-to sign at the end of any question, as a "I'm asking for a response" indicator. I've never seen you do this. Is it necessary? It seems redundant to use a "wh"-question word and also have to signal that you're asking a question.
- Daniel

Hello Daniel,
You are right. Adding a manual signal (such as a QM-wig) to the end of a sentence that already uses facial grammar (such as raised or lowered eyebrows) to indicate that you are asking a question -- is redundant.
QM-wig should be used sparingly and only for situations when you wish to either clarify that a complex sentence is indeed a question and/or you want to add an element of skepticism (via a combination of the QM-wig sign and a disbelieving facial expression).
Think of QM-wig as similar to the question phrase "Is that so?" Then think of all the ways you could modulate "Is that so?"--by changing your facial expressions and tone of voice. Thus you can see that QM-wig can have a range of meanings.  It should not be used at the end of every question.
Dr. V

p.s. There is a difference between "ASK-to" and "QM-wig" (question-mark wiggle).

Start with an index-finger handshape, move your hand toward the person being asked, and change your handshape into an "X"-hand (pointed toward that person at a loose angle).



See: QM-wig
See: ASK-to

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