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American Sign Language: "delimitations"


When you "delimit" something you "determine the limits or boundaries of" it.

The "delimitations of a sign" are the established, stated, conventional, or agreed upon limits or boundaries of that sign. 
I would suggest to to you that "boundary" lines are sometimes fuzzy, porous, or flexible.
 

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AREA-[non-initialized]-[5-handshape-single-large-movement-version]-[field/-hood/-dom]. Delimitations: A version of the sign "AREA" is sometimes used to mean "field."  This sign doesn't mean "field" as in a "field of work" or a "profession."  Instead, for the concept of "field of work" or "profession" used the sign labeled as MAJOR/field/discipline/line-of-work.

 



ADDRESS:

An ASL instructor asked:

Some friends and I recently had an interesting discussion about the sign for 'address.' We all agree that it is used to mean: address; live, life, living exists etc. as explained on your 'address page.'
Two of us think the sign can also be used (in certain contexts) to mean 'location.'
For example, let's say you tell me that you have the greatest dentist on planet earth and she makes going to the dentist sheer joy. And, needing dental work and not having an established dentist, I reply: "Your, dentist . . address (location), WH? Meaning I am not asking for the street address of your dentist but I want to know the general area where she is located. I know we could use the sign for 'area' in that case. Could we also use the sign for 'address' (or not)?
Others in our group are convinced that using the sign for 'address' would be incorrect if used to mean 'location,' regardless the context.
Thanks for educating us :)
[Name removed to protect the person's privacy.]
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Dear ____________,

 I've been thinking lately about the concept of "delimitations."

When you "delimit" something you "determine the limits or boundaries of" it. The "delimitations of a sign" therefore are the established, stated, conventional, or agreed upon limits or boundaries of that sign.

The fact that your group is "discussing" the delimitations of ADDRESS is an indication that the "boundary line" of ADDRESS is at least a bit fuzzy.

However, we have to ask ourselves what will be the most likely response to a question signed as:
YOUR DENTIST what-ADDRESS?

The vast majority of skilled signers will likely assume you are asking for the "address" of the dentist and reply accordingly.

The vast majority of skilled signers upon seeing the sign for ADDRESS-(repeated-movement-version) will infer that you are signing "address."

Thus an ASL instructor would be well advised to "not" include the word "location" in a list of "typical" meanings of the sign for ADDRESS.

On the other hand, an example that might clarify why it is that in the back of your mind you keep thinking that "location" could be one of the meanings of the "ADDRESS" sign is this:

Suppose a business leader were discussing moving to a new "location." She might even write the "address" of that new location on the board. Then as she is discussing the move he might state something to the effect of, "We plan to move to the new location next month." Any interpreter worth their salt is going to do the sign for ADDRESS to mean "location" (in that specific interpreting scenario).

If the business leader had been discussing a new "building" (but hadn't mentioned nor written an address) and used the same phrase "We plan to move to the new location next month" -- the interpreter would likely sign "BUILDING" to mean "location" (in that particular interpreting scenario).

Thus an interpreter educator (not a basic ASL instructor) would be well advised to include ADDRESS on their list of possible interpretations for "location" -- depending on the scenario.
Cordially,
Dr. Bill







 



 

Notes:
 

 




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