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Gloss is a written or typed approximation of (or notes regarding) another language. ASL gloss is a written or typed approximation of ASL typically using English words as ďlabelsĒ for each sign along with various grammatical notes.
The problem with glossing is the studentís expectation that this sign means that in English, which is not always the case. Sometimes one sign can have multiple meanings, and the meaning of that sign is dependent on the context of the sentence or even the surrounding context.
Whatís the difference between content and context?
∑ Content is the words in the sentence. Itís essentially all the words that are in the ďcontainer.Ē
∑ Context are the circumstances, the surrounding content, and the meaning behind the content, which are implied outside of that container.
Letís examine that a little bit more.
Suppose, the person signs: YESTERDAY MORNING I (WAKE-UP/SURPRISE) 7 OíCLOCK.
Disregarding the difference in facial
expression, letís just take a look at the sign itself. Which sign makes the
most sense in that sentence? Do most people get a surprise at 7:00 am?
When do we normally get a surprise? Are we surprised out of bed? Is
someone holding a surprise party in our bedroom? Most likely not. The best
word for that sentence is WAKE-UP.
Another example: YOU LIKE (WAKE-UP/SURPRISE) PARTY?
Do you like surprise parties or wake-parties? Which meaning would fit the best?
So, your challenge as the student is to watch the sentences in each of the sentence translation assignment and select the BEST word to match content, as well as the context.
Glossing is a linguistic exercise. For a more in depth look at glossing, read: ASL Glossing Conventions.
I do not require all those the conventions listed on that page. Instead we are going to use a much more simplified format.
Uppercase vs Lowercase
The word in UPPERCASE contains the primary meaning/main heading: SHOW
The word in lowercase tells something about the main heading: SHOW-me or you-SHOW-me
Notice how there is a hyphen between SHOW and me? That hyphen connects the object (me) to the verb (SHOW). And technically if I signed two different words, then I should type SHOW ME
If there is no hyphen, then that means two separate words are being signed here. But that is not the case for SHOW-me. The meaning is shown in the movement.
Consider this sentence: TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL.
In glossing, not including the indexing format, this should read: TELL-me HOW YOU FEEL.
If you type TELL ME instead of TELL-me, that will be marked wrong.
If you type tell-ME, that is not the correct format and it will be marked wrong.
Consider the word WEEK
If I type TWO WEEKS (without the hyphen), that means Iím signing two separate words TWO and WEEK. However, if I type two-WEEK or 2-WEEK, that means that the number is blended into the sign. If you type TWO WEEKS and 2-WEEKS was signed, that will be marked wrong.
If I type PAST WEEK, that means Iím signing two separate words PAST and WEEK.
But if I type past-WEEK, that means the tense is incorporated into the sign. If you type PAST WEEK and past-WEEK was signed, that will be marked wrong.
Sign repetition usually means that the event happens more than once. For example, the concept of working hard or for long periods of time would require repetitive movement: WORK-hard or WORK++. Note: the sign ďhardĒ is not signed at all. Itís implied. The plus sign indicates that the word is being signed more than once and that the meaning changes. For example: WORK vs WORK++
This refers to the personal pronouns and pointing towards an object: For example: he, she, it, they, those, that.
This is where it can get a little complicated. Not interested in complicated assignments or instructions. If indexing occurs, you have two choices. You can type out: INDEX-he or you can use the abbreviation IX (for index).
∑ INDEX-me / IX-me
∑ INDEX -you / IX-you
∑ INDEX -he (or her or it) / IX-he (or her or it)
∑ INDEX -they / IX-they
∑ INDEX-we / IX-we
∑ INDEX-you all / IX-you all
Letís look at this sentence: TODAY I NEED GO WORK
In glossing, this should read: TODAY IX-me NEED GO WORK.
And this sentence: TELL ME HOW YOU FEEL.
In glossing, not including the indexing format, this should read: TELL-me HOW IX-you FEEL.
To differentiate between the sign for CAT and the fingerspelled word for CAT, you need to include some dashes. CAT is the sign. C-A-T is the fingerspelled word.
For example, this sentence: MY GRANDPA WORK FARM.
In glossing, this should read MY GRANDPA WORK F-A-R-M.
This is fingerspelling that has changed over time to take on the characteristics of a sign. A lexicalized fingerspelled word tends to look like and be expressed as a single sign rather than a collection of fingerspelled letters. Some ASL books or articles indicate lexicalized fingerspelling by putting a # symbol in front of the letters. For example: #ALL.
Hereís a little bit more on the topic: Lexicalized Fingerspelling
The fingerspelled word D-O-G is signed with hand up right, palm out. Itís just regular fingerspelling.
The lexicalized fingerspelling of the word #DOG is signed with the palm up.
For example, this sentence: WALK DOG, YOU MIND?
In glossing this should read: WALK #DOG, you-MIND?
Instructions: for the sentence translations:
1. Each of the sentence translation assignments will contain ten sentences.
2. Type out the ASL gloss and then the English translation for each sentence
∑ ASL: Type the gloss for each sentence in the EXACT order it was signed. All gloss must be in UPPER case and the descriptors in lower case.
∑ English: Type the translation of the glossed sentence in proper English. The English translation must be italicized and use sentence case. The sentence MUST make sense.
3. Spell-check your work.
ASL: ASK-him STUDENT WHERE IX-he LIVE
ENGLISH: Ask the student where he lives.
ASL: two-WEEK-future SATURDAY IX-you # BUSY?
ENGLISH: Are you busy two weeks from now?