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ASL: "dumpster"


If I wanted to tell someone about a "Dumpster" problem at work should I just sign "trash" and use a classifier to draw an outline of a large Dumpster and point to the back of the building? I can't find a sign for dumpster. Should I just fingerspell it?  This is a real life situation. The garbage truck moved the dumpster and it now blocks part of the door to go outside. The driver wears a hearing aid and I've seen him sign before. The next time they come again I want to give a hint to him.

The best way to sign something typically depends on context or the situation. If you are signing in person with someone and a dumpster is physically present you can simply point at the dumpster to refer to it. If you want to discuss a dumpster behind the building you could sign GARBAGE large-BOX in-the-BACK? PREVENT DOOR.  (Note: The word "large" in large-BOX is lowercase because it is not a separate sign but rather you do the sign BOX in a way that shows the box is large.)

If you were in a typical public classroom situation in an English speaking country you may need to ensure that the actual word "dumpster" is mapped to the concept of a "large box for garbage."  In such a situation on first reference (the first time you start talking about a dumpster in that conversation) you should fingerspell "DUMPSTER" and then large-BOX GARBAGE THROW-into THAT! (and maybe even spell DUMPSTER one more time for emphasis -- depending on how important it is that the person knows how to spell the word -- for example, perhaps later on a written test). 

Something to consider also is the fact that a sanitation worker (or what was formerly called a "garbage man") whether Deaf or Hearing is very familiar with the word "dumpster" and how it looks on the lips.  If you were to mouth to even a "non-deaf" sanitation worker the phrase "The dumpster is full!" -- chances are he / she / they would understand you just fine by reading your lips. Garbage trucks are noisy so even sanitation workers who can hear have had plenty of practice reading lips. The point here is that if you do sign "GARBAGE large-BOX" -- you may wish to mouth the word "dumpster" (but should not mouth "garbage large box."   

Similarly, if you mean "block" and you sign PREVENT -- if you optionally choose to mouth something you should go ahead and mouth "block."


Notes, references, and/or samples:





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