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ASL: Lesson 7:

___ I know how to get attention and take turns during a conversation
___ I understand the concept of "Dominant Hand"
___ I can recognize and sign numbers 1,000-999,999
___ I understand the significance of "ABCOS15" (Base-hand handshapes)
___ I am familiar with the concept of repeating the pronoun. See Pronoun Copy

___ I am familiar with the use of "body shift" to create the concept of "or."
___ I am familiar with the concept of "inflection."
___ I am familiar with the concept of "topicalization."
___ I understand that the order of signs in ASL is more varied than just OSV.
___ I am able to recognize and sign the practice sentences and story for this lesson
___ I have taken the Lesson 7 Practice Quiz

EAT [food]
FULL (2 versions)
HOTDOG-[sausage, bologna]
WHAT-KIND-[type, style]

Practice Sheet: 7.A
01. APPLE, GREEN, YOU LIKE EAT? (Do you like to eat green apples?) [L7]
02. CANDY, YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND? (What type of candy do you like?) [L7]

03. CEREAL, YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND? (What type of cereal do you like?) [L7]
04. YOU LIKE COOKIES WITH MILK? (Do you like cookies and milk?) [L7]
05. WATER YOU DRINK EVERYDAY, CUP  HOW-MANY YOU? (How many cups of water do you drink daily?) [L7]

Practice Sheet: 7.B
06. YOUR FAVORITE FOOD WHAT? (What is your favorite food?) [L7]
07. GREEN EGG AND H-A-M YOU LIKE YOU? (Do you like green eggs and ham?) [L7]
09. YOU FULL?-[flat hand under chin version] (Are you full?) [L7]
10. YOU FAVORITE-[prefer], HAMBURGER [body-shift-"or"] HOTDOG? (Do you prefer hamburgers or hotdogs?) [L7]

Practice Sheet 7.C
11. HUNGRY YOU? (Are you hungry?) [L7]
12. PIZZA, YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND? (What type of pizza do you like?) [L7]
13. SUPPOSE YOU GO MOVIE, YOU LIKE EAT POPCORN? (Do you like to eat popcorn at the movies?) [L7]
14. SOUP, YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND? (What kind of soup do you like?) [L7]
15. APPLE, RED, YOU LIKE EAT YOU? (Do you like to eat red apples?) [L7]

Practice Sheet 7.D
16. COOKIE, YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND? (What kind of cookies do you like?) [L7]
17. YOU FAVORITE-[prefer] APPLE [bodyshift-"or"] ORANGES? (Do you prefer apples or oranges?) [L7]
18. YOUR SISTER LIKE EGG? (Does your sister like eggs?) [L7]
19. SUPPOSE YOU EAT 3 HAMBURGER, WILL FULL YOU? (If you eat three hamburgers will you be full?) [L7]
20. YOU DON'T-LIKE CANDY?!? (Don't you like candy?) [L7]

Story Practice:
ASL gloss: 
IX-[me] HUNGRY! WANT EAT NOW-NOW!-[Right now!] I FEEL CAN EAT PIZZA Classifier:bent-LL-[mouth-morpheme: CHA!] ALL MYSELF. TOMORROW I GO MOVIE. EAT-[2h-alternating] POPCORN, HOTDOG, CANDY, DRINK-[large / cha]! FULL-(of food/drink) WILL! IX-[me / nod]. MY FAVORITE FOOD? COOKIES, MILK Depiction: "Dip cookie into a glass of milk, take a bite."

English interpretation: 
I'm so hungry! I want to eat right now! I feel like I could eat a whole pizza on my own! Tomorrow I'm going to the movies and I'll chow-down on popcorn, a hotdog, candy, and a large drink! My

Note: "CL:" is a way of indicating a special sign known as a "classifier" (or more recently people call them "depictive signs"). These are signs that "show" what you are discussing. Classifiers ("depictive signs") are discussed more in future lessons. The letters "ICL" stand for "instrument classifier." Instrument classifiers are what we call it when we show the manipulation of an object. (Like dipping a cookie into a cup.)

Note: In Lesson 3 we learned the sign BIG.  We can modify the sign BIG to become large as in a "large drink" by signing DRINK-[large] by doing a vertical version of BIG after signing DRINK. You might see people do the mouth morpheme "CHA" when signing large. CHA is a way of saying "very" when used with large]

"Extra-large" as in an extra large drink:

Pronoun Copy:
ASL Grammar topic:  "Pronoun Copy"

ASL it is fairly common for the subject pronoun to be repeated at the end of a sentence.

For example, "YOU GO YOU?"

The pronoun copy at the end of a question sentence (accompanied by the raising of the eyebrows) is typically functioning as a verb.

Think of "YOU GO YOU?" as meaning:  YOU GO

Which would be translated as:  "Are you going?"

This is no more complex than what happens in English. An English as a second language learner could be asked by his/her friend, "You going?" -- and then complain that English is confusing because sometimes it doesn't use "be verbs."

It is not uncommon for English speakers to say:
"You going?" - [accompanied by a raising of the tone of voice] to mean: "Are you going?"

Another English example happens when someone has two items, holds one up and asks you "Want one?" The person dropped the words "do" and "you." They were implied by the context of the situation.

1.  English can replace "do," or "are" with a "raise of the tone of voice" or "context."
2.  ASL can replace "do" or "are" with a raise of the eyebrows accompanied by a pointing gesture.

Both forms are correct in everyday context-rich communication.

Also see: Pronoun Copy

[Bodyshift]-OR:  Often in ASL we do not use a separate sign for the concept of "or." We simply shift our body a bit from one side to the other as we present the second option.


You can change the way you do signs to help make your meaning clear or adjust your meaning. This is called "inflection."  Often the specific meaning of a sign depends on adjustments to the way you do a sign. For example we can inflect the sign EAT (done with a single movement) to have various meanings.  If we do a small double movement it can mean FOOD.  For the "process of eating" use a somewhat larger double motion. To sign "pig out" alternate using both hands with large movements and lots of facial expression.

Sometimes students will comment, "But Deaf coworker (or friend or classmate) signs FOOD and EAT the same!"  That is where context becomes important.  Not all Deaf sign use the same sign the same way.  It is common to see versions and variations in the Deaf World.  That is why it is important to pay attention to context (the situation and the rest of the sentence) to help you figure out ambiguous signs.

ASL is not English on the hands:
ASL and English are two different languages.  Just because a sign has an English label doesn't mean that it is the exact equivalent of the English word.
Don't be worried about trying to make your signing fit English.  If you want to ask someone: "Do you like cookies and milk?" -- you could just sign: YOU LIKE COOKIE MILK YOU? Most people will get your meaning.  If needed you can add signs. For example, YOU LIKE COOKIE WITH MILK?

There are ASL teachers (and textbooks) that (over) emphasize the use of passive sentence structure by telling you to sign OBJECT, SUBJECT VERB.  For example, they will tell you to sign: "CANDY,
YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND?"  To do that you use a yes/no question expression (eyebrows up, head tilted forward a bit while signing "CANDY" and then you would switch to a "wh-question" expression (eyebrows down, head tilted a bit back) for the "YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND?"  This process of moving the object to the front of your sentence and topicalizing it is called "topicalization."  The Lifeprint curriculum also uses a lot of "topicalization" because, frankly, you need the practice. 

However, if you want to ask someone what kind of candy they like, it would be perfectly fine to sign:  YOU LIKE CANDY WHAT-KIND?  You could even ask, YOU LIKE WHAT-KIND CANDY?-- while furrowing your eyebrows on both WHAT-KIND and CANDY.  There are those that will tell you the WH-type question always has to be signed at the end. That simply isn't true . Often the WH-question forms a type of clause. 

Often ASL teachers will tell you that ASL sign order is typically: time, topic, comment.  What many don't explain is that your topic can be a subject and that it is okay to sign in subject, verb, object order.  Many students leave an ASL class thinking they must sign in object, subject, verb order. This is simply not true.  Both orders exist in ASL (SVO and OSV). In the real world you should pick the order that emphasizes the part of your sentence that needs to be emphasized.  If the subject is more important the just use subject, verb, object. However, in class, sign the way your teacher wants you to until you get the grade you want to get. Then go out into the real world and have real conversations.

It is just as correct to sign "YOU LIKE EAT RED APPLE YOU?" as it is to sign, "APPLE, RED, YOU LIKE EAT YOU?"  Both sentences mean: Do you like to eat red apples?  We would only use the second version if there were some reason to emphasize the fact that we are discussing an "apple" and that it is red.

If someone wants to argue this point with you, encourage them to read a decent book on ASL Linguistics.  For more information regarding "signing order in ASL," see:  "Sign Order in ASL: (SVO)"

Optional reading, not required for this lesson:

Questions and Answers regarding this lesson:
Students asked: 

Is there a difference between "soup" and "spoon?" 
Response:  The signs are very similar. If you want to make it clear that you mean "spoon" and not "soup" just drop the bowl (not the actual bowl mind you but rather the bowl formed by your non-dominant hand), except that for the sign "spoon" you "drop the bowl" (the non-dominant hand) and emphasize the "spoon."  Some people sign spoon by modifying the non-dominant hand into an "H" shape (similar to the dominant hand).  Language evolves so stay flexible.

Is there one "best" sign for PIZZA?
Response:  Depends on where you live.  There are at least three strong signs for pizza. I tend to use the "bent-v" hand moving in a Z pattern and then end with an "A."

I've seen two signs for "tomato."  Which one is right?
Response:  Both signs are "correct" in that they are both used in the Deaf community.  One version uses an index finger on the dominant hand and a "flattened O" hand on the base hand.  That version is a bit older.   A "newer" version of the sign uses an "index finger" on both hands.  This is an example of language "evolution."  Over time, ASL signs tend to become more simple to produce.

Is there a difference between "food" and "eat?"
Response:  FOOD and EAT use the same sign. You can inflect it to show different concepts like "pig out." (For example, use two hands and repeated movements.)  If you need to differentiate between the signs eat and food (maybe you are taking a "nutrition class"), you could use a small double motion for food and a single normal motion for eat. For the "process of eating" use a somewhat larger double motion. There really isn't much difference between asking, "What is your favorite food?" vs "What do you prefer to eat?"  It is the same concept.

How is the sign church different from the sign chocolate?
Response:  Why are you asking that?  It is not part of this lesson?  Ah, you are just the curious time and/or you have been studying on your own.  Good for you.  The sign CHOCOLATE moves in a horizontal circle on the back of the base hand.  The sign CHURCH does a slight up and down tap on the back of the base hand.

How is the sign "FORK" different from the sign "STAND?"
Response:  The sign "FORK" varies widely.  Some people show three tines.  Some show just two.  For FORK I angle my base hand at more of a slant and I use a repeated jabbing movement. For STAND I hold my base hand more "palm up" and use a "contact hold" movement.

If someone has heard that "I don't like candy" and they look at me and ask "You don't like candy?!?" What is a good reply?
If you really do like candy:  I LIKE!
If you want to confirm that you don't like candy: RIGHT, I DON'T-LIKE
If you sort of like candy sign:  SO-SO
If you like some but not all you could sign:  SOME LIKE, SOME DON'T-LIKE

A student asked about the facial grammar used for the question: "Do you prefer hamburgers or hotdogs?"

Topic: "Either / Or" questions:
When asking questions that involve options we can raise our eyebrows to introduce the options. This is a form of topicalization or drawing attention to our topic.
In regard to a sentence such as "Do you prefer hotdogs or hamburgers which?" it may help to think of it as several separate sentences. For example:
Do you prefer hotdogs? (Yes or no? = eyebrows up)
[body shift contrasting structure = "OR"]
Do you prefer hamburgers? (Yes or no? = eyebrows up)
Which? (WH-type question = eyebrows down).
Note that we could totally drop the WHICH part of the question and most skilled signers would still understand the question:
Do you prefer hotdogs? (Yes or no? = eyebrows up)
[body shift contrasting structure = "OR"]
Do you prefer hamburgers? (Yes or no? = eyebrows up)
Would you rather have a hotdog? (eyebrows up)
Or would you rather have a hamburger? (eyebrows up)
Both of those are yes / no questions yet with an overall implication of wanting to know "which?".
Not including the "Which?" question saves time and effort but assumes that the person with whom you are conversing can figure out that you need them to make a decision and inform you as to one option or the other. If the person is somewhat clueless and just responds with "yes" you can lower your eyebrows and sign "Which?" to encourage (force) them to decide or clarify by signing which of the two options they prefer.
Other topic: Rhetorical WH-type questions:
When discussing the use of signs like WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW, how-MUCH and other WH-type signs keep in mind that if you use them rhetorically they will be produced with eyebrows up.
Consider the difference between these two questions:
1. "Why?" (eyebrows down) (Standard WH-type question)
2. "Do you want to know why?" (eyebrows up) (Rhetorical WH-type question)
For more info on rhetorical "WH"-type questions see:


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Lesson Revision:
The following information, while cool, doesn't need to be in "ASL 1."   Students would survive just fine without it so why distract them with it while they are trying to learn ASL? So, a heads up, eventually the following will be removed from this lesson:

Base hand / non-dominant hand:  "
Your non-dominant hand is also sometimes called your "base-hand."  While doing ASL signs you may notice something interesting about the shapes used by your non-dominant hand.
For two-handed signs in which your hands have different handshapes you will notice that almost always the non-dominant hand is in one of these seven shapes: "ABCOS15."  You typically see one of those shapes on the non-dominant signing hand when it is providing a stationary base for your "in-motion" dominant hand.