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American Sign Language: "please"

The sign for "please" is made by placing your flat right hand over the center of your chest.  Move your hand in a clockwise motion (from the observer's point of view, use a circular motion towards your left, down, right, and back up) a few times. 


Student: Is the sign "please" just used in the context of "this pleases me" or is also used as a question, as in, "Please do this"?

Dr. Bill: Great question! 
To sign "this pleases" me, you could use the sign "ENJOY."
To sign "please do this" I generally use "YOU MIND?"

Some signers feel that the concept "PLEASE" should not be used in "true ASL" to ask people to "please do something."   Instead, they express the concept by using a "pleading" facial expression.

For example, you could sign, "YOU MIND?" while using a hopeful / pleading facial expression.

My observation is that "PLEASE" is indeed a well established ASL concept and is in widespread use in the Deaf community. (Just yesterday, I noticed a very skilled ASL signer using the sign "PLEASE" in a vlog.)  I do notice though that it tends to come at the end rather than at the beginning of a sentence. It is more of an "add on" to show that the person "really" wants something.

I also think that most students need to pay more attention to their facial expressions though.

Student:  What does it mean if you do this with two hands?

DrBill:  It means "enjoy" or a version of "appreciate." 


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