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Directional Verbs

Learning Tips   |  Wednesday, July 28, 2010

By John Miller

There are a group of verbs that are often referred to as Directional Verbs. These are also known as Indexical verbs or Verb Agreement. These verbs do just what the term suggests; they show directionality. They do this by using an element of motion that indicates one or more referents (see post on Setting Up People, Places, and Things for more on referents). These verbs can be used pretty simply by setting people up, then using direction to show who is doing what to whom.

I will give you some examples to make it clear using the word/sign SHOW.

  1. First you set up someone on the right, lets say DAN, by fingerspelling his name on the right side of your signing space.
  2. Then you set up someone on the left, lets say JACK, by fingerspelling his name on the left side of your signing space.
  3. Then just by using the sign SHOW and moving from the area on the right, to the area on the left, you are signing DAN SHOWED JACK.
  4. If you went from the left to the right, you would be saying JACK SHOWED DAN.

Once again, the act of moving the sign gives the meaning of whom is doing what to whom. Other directional verbs include borrow, give, see, pay, invite, help, send, and bite.

Directional/Indexical signs can be very fun to use and make your message so much clearer when used properly.

Happy Signing!

 

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