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Onomatopoeic Signs

In a message dated 1/17/2007 5:01:25 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, lea11k@ writes:
I am a children's librarian who has been learning ASL for the last year or so.  I am participating in a storytelling program and have been trying to integrate some signs into the telling.  I realize I will probably be doing more Signed English than ASL since my audience will be hearing and I will be speaking simultaneously, but I want to stay as close to true ASL as I can. The program is designed for children aged 7-9, however this particular program is for training purposes only and will only be viewed by fellow children's librarians. Most of the stories that I have picked include at least a few onomatopoeic words- such as "moo"  and "cluck-cluck."  I am not sure how to sign these words, if I should fingerspell them or whether it is more appropriate to disregard them entirely. 
Kiera Manikoff
Children's Librarian
New York, NY
Hi Kiera,
What to do for signs like that varies with the concept but in general you try to represent the concept visually in a way that portrays the intended meaning.  Often this is done by "role playing" the animal, or using signs in creative ways.
For a cow "mooing" you could rear your head back and hold an "M" near your mouth and then mouth a long "moo" as you change the "M" into an "O" handshape and move the hand up and out into air.
For a bird clucking you would hold a "G" near your lips and then mouth "cluck, cluck" while jutting your head up and forward like a bird does. The letter G would start closed and then open with each cluck.
(Dr. Vicars of


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