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American Sign Language:  "star" / "stars"




In a message dated 3/10/2006 8:59:06 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, veryfunnie@ writes:

<I want to clarify to see if star and socks differ in LOCATION (parameters) since someone said it is a MOVEMENT difference. Who is right?
Thanks in advance.>

Dear Student,
There are two main differences between STARS and SOCKS:

Location:  STARS is done at around face level, whereas SOCKS is done near belly button level.
Additionally, there is a difference in the parameter known as "palm orientation."
Orientation:  STARS is palm forward, whereas SOCKS is palm backward/downward.

The "movement" is essentially the same, however it might be argued that the sign STARS uses a (slightly) larger movement and or tends to be inflected more than SOCKS.  Often you will see people signing STARS using a repetitive movement while sweeping it through the air (as if to show "many stars in the sky).  Additionally, we tend to use "eye gaze" much more with the sign "STARS" than we do SOCKS -- look at the sign STARS and/or look toward the "stars" while doing the sign STARS much more so than we look at the sign SOCKS. We do not look at our feet while doing the sign SOCKS.
Also (since we are getting picky) from time to time you may notice some people opening their mouths in a shape that looks as if they are pronouncing the first three letters of the English word "stars." (Note: I'm not advocating that, I'm just simply pointing out that I see it from time to time. This seems to stem from the fact that when a person tilts their head to look upward, it is easy for the mouth to open a bit.)  I rarely see people mouthing the word "socks" while doing the sign "SOCKS."
Dr. Bill


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