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ASL Gloss Riddles:
"ASL Gloss Riddles are English labels for American Sign Language signs intentionally strung together in such a way as to require ingenuity and bilingual ASL/English competence to figure out the actual meaning of the sentence."
How to play:
1. Think of a sentence in ASL.
2. Think about the various common English labels or interpretations that exist for each of the signs in the sentence.
3. Choose and string together various labels in such a way as to make no sense in English but when signed into ASL someone familiar with ASL and Deaf culture will be able to figure out the meaning of the sentence. The sentence doesn’t have to be true. It just has to create a fairly clear meaning (when signed) to someone familiar with ASL.
Example of an “ASL gloss riddle”:
Hard: PUBLIC MOSES CAN’T, BEEN-to ABLE.
Medium: HEARING GLASSES CAN’T, TOUCH CAN.
Both riddles (above) can be interpreted as:
"People who can hear can't attend Gallaudet University -- but they can visit."
The sign for HEARING-culturally, can also mean:
HEARING-person, say, and "public" (as in a "public school" where the typical mode of instruction is speaking).
On a deeper note, actually "Hearing people" can indeed attend Gallaudet. It is common for Hearing people to participate in Gallaudet's "graduate programs" (post bachelors program). There also is another way Hearing people can attend Gallaudet (besides participating in a graduate program) -- which leads to another riddle:
HEARING CAN GLASSES HOW? H-U-G.
In this case it helps to know that the dashes between capital letters tends to indicate that the concept is being fingerspelled. Thus in this situation "H-U-G" is being fingerspelled.
The solution to that riddle is:
"People who can hear can attend Gallaudet University via the Hearing Undergraduate Program."
Notes: The term ASL Gloss Riddles” was probably coined by Dr. Bill (William G. Vicars, EdD) of ASLUniversity. He started using the term in 2018. ASL gloss riddles are not the same thing as "CODA talk" but the two do overlap somewhat in regard to aspects of bilingual / bimodal English/ASL usage. For more information on "Coda Talk" search for: "Orange Eyes: Bimodal Bilingualism in Hearing Adults from Deaf Families by Michele Bishop and Sherry Hicks"
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