The right sign for "second" depends on what you
If you mean "second" as in "one second of time" or "there are 60
seconds in a minute" you can do a "quick" version of the sign for "minute."
Yes, that is right, the sign for "minute" is often used to mean
I know that is inefficient. Having two concepts that use the same exact
sign and rely on context (or a mouth movement to distinguish between the two
meanings) is confusing. Hey, I didn't invent the language, I'm just
teaching it to you.
very quick twitch of the right hand in an "index finger" handshape. Have it do one
"tick" of the clock. The movement is from the wrist and pivots on
the heel of the other hand. Remember, the movement is small and quick.
Sample sentence: "One minute has how many seconds?"
If you are discussing duration of time and you need to clearly distinguish
between a "minute" and a "second" -- you can spell them out. M-I-N and
Or sign "MINUTE" and spell S-E-C.
Notes and optional reading:
In a message dated 10/29/2006 1:23:31 PM Pacific Standard Time, rollendonner@ writes:
I learned a "new" sign today that [my]
teacher hadn't known before: apparently the local slang for "used car" is signed with an "L" sign with the index finger
pointed away from you like a pistol (at about a 45 degree angle) and shaking it back and forth a few times--like prodding
someone with a gun to buy a car they don't really want? The person who had learned it from Deaf friends had no explanation
but swore that it was true.
Actually, the sign you are describing is based on a sign that means "second" as in "I second that motion," or "used / second-hand."
When at a board meeting if we want to second something we will use the "L" hand pointed somewhat forward and up. The
movement is a forward/sideward roll with a quick ending.
If you roll the sign toward a person that sign can also be used to mean, "it's your turn."
When this sign is used for cars it means "a second-hand car."
In a message dated 7/26/2008 11:09:18 P.M. Pacific Daylight
Time, reed@ writes:
Just a quick note: My Deaf friend taught me to sign "second" (as
unit of time) similarly to "minute" but with a closed dominant
So the secondary hand is a flat "b" shape and the primary hand
"s" shape, with the curled thumb and index finger against the
ticks just like the sign for "minute".
Apparently, this sign is in use here in the Bay Area. It avoids
trouble of having "minute" and "second" signed the same way.
Thank you for sharing your Deaf friend's version of the time sign
That version of the sign SECOND is what I'd call an "initialized"
version. It uses the initial of the English word "second" as the
handshape for the sign "SECOND." As an ASL instructor I would classify
that version as "Signed English."
Some people might be tempted to knee jerk react and say that your Deaf
friend doesn't sign ASL. It has been my observation however that quite a
few skilled ASL users use initialization from time to time and borrow
signs liberally from Signed English according to convenience. Whether or
not such signs "jump the gap" and become an accepted part of ASL -- only
time will tell. As of right now though I would
NOT recommend using that
version. If in doubt, just spell S-E-C.
But THANK YOU for the input. Seriously I appreciate it.
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