A student writes:
Dear Bill, I am enjoying your
I have associated with the Deaf
community for 15 months and find your course very helpful.
However, I have a question about one
of your sample sentences.
The English is "Have your met my
Your ASL response is "You - meet my
Since you are asking about if the
person has already met my brother in the past, wouldn't the
correct ASL phrase be "YOU FINISH MEET MY BROTHER?"
Which would be asking "Have you in
the past met my brother?"
I could be all wrong. But I thought
I would ask anyway.
Great question. It could go either way depending on the situation.
If my brother is in the room and I am introducing you around, and I
think that you don't know he is my brother, I might sign:
INDEX-(point at brother) MY BROTHER-[smile, single small nod of head],
FINISH MEET?-[raise eyebrows for yes/no question expression] Which
basically says, "This is my brother, have you meet him?"
However, if I simply signed "YOU MEET MY BROTHER?" (while raising my
eyebrows in the facial expression for a yes/no question), it would be
understood that I'm asking "Have you met my brother yet?"
Your response (if you had already met him) would likely be, "FINISH" or
if you hadn't met him you would likely sign "NOT-YET."
Now, suppose it is the day after a party. Suppose you and I are talking
about what a great time we had and I recall that my brother showed up at
the party and I want to know if you met him. Since we have already
established that we were talking about something that took place last
night I'd simply sign:
"YOU MEET MY BROTHER?"
Which would be interpreted as "Did you meet my brother?" In that case it
would be totally unnecessary to add the sign "FINISH" (but it wouldn't
be wrong either).
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