An ASL Dictionary

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Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same - Set 10

Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same - Set 10

Learning Tips   |  Monday, March 4, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

This article is part of our “Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same” series, which highlights signs that look similar, but have different meanings.

Hello! Brenda Cartwright (BC) here. Let's continue on the fun topic of: “Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same.”

The ASL signs shown below look similar, but are not the same. There are many ASL signs that when produced look similar, but in fact have a completely different meaning. Below you will find examples of such signs. Watch closely to see if you can see the difference. In addition, watch my eyebrows, look to see when I tilt my head or lean my body in a certain way, even what my mouth is doing. These nuances are called inflections and trust me, inflections matter. Enjoy!

1. Cafeteria vs. Twin vs. Restaurant

CAFETERIA has the C handshape move from one side of the chin to the other, while TWIN uses the same motion, but uses the T handshape instead. RESTAURANT also uses this same motion, but uses the R handshape. 

You can remember the difference between these signs because they each use the handshape that the word starts with (Cafeteria = C handshape; Twin = T handshape; Restaurant = R handshape).

It is called an initialized sign when the first letter of the word is the handshape used in the sign. Often initialized signs are an indication that the sign is a Signing Exact English (SEE) sign, however, these three initialized signs are all excepted as American Sign Language (ASL).

Cafeteria
Twin
Restaurant

2. Socks vs. Stars

SOCKS have the index fingers brush against each other while pointing down (palms inward) and STARS have the index fingers brush against each other (palms outward) while pointing up.

To remember SOCKS, think of the index fingers point downward towards your socks and the movement suggests the sliding on and off of socks. You can also think of knitting socks. Although there is not an early record of the sign for SOCKS in older dictionaries, there is a compound sign described as using your index fingers as knitting needles to make the sign for KNIT and then pointing to your feet. Because of this, it is believed that the sign for SOCKS evolved from the idea of making a knitting movement while pointing to your feet.1

To remember STARS, think of the index fingers pointing up towards the sky, where the stars are. This sign originated from the old French sign for ÉTOILE (star), which is now used in French sign language for ASTROLOGIE (astrology). The sign originally had the index fingers pointing into the sky, indicating points where stars might be, however, the ASL sign evolved over time to have the two index fingers closer together so they make contact.1

Socks
Stars

3. See vs. Watch

The 2 handshape (also called the V handshape) is used when signing both SEE and WATCH because the two fingers represent the eyes and what the eyes are doing.

The big difference to spot between these two signs is the palm orientation. SEE has the palm facing the body and WATCH has the palm facing outward.

When signing SEE, the palm faces the body and the 2 handshape starts at the face, just below the dominant eye, and pulls away from the body. This movement represents the concept of seeing from the eyes.

WATCH has the 2 handshape, with the palm facing outward, point straight out from the face and move out - think of pointing at what you are watching.

See
Watch

4. Enough vs. Full

When signing ENOUGH, the dominant 5 handshape, with the palm down, slides across the S handshape, suggesting that you are scraping the extra off of the top because there is already enough. To sign FULL (as in "a full container"), the dominant 5 handshape moves across the S handshape from dominant side to non-dominant side and suggests that a container is filled to the brim. There are multiple movements when signing ENOUGH, while there is one swift movement when signing FULL.

Enough
Full

How can I figure out the difference between signs on my own?

If you see two signs that look close, but not the same, but you’re not sure, you can use Signing Savvy features to help you figure out the difference. All of our signs have sign descriptions and memory aids that members can access. Reading the sign description and memory aids for the signs can help you figure out the small differences between them that your eyes don’t catch at first. We also recommend using the pause and slow motion feature to slow down the video, so you can take a closer look. These features are available to Signing Savvy members.

Take a look, it's in a book!

These examples are aligned with the Visual Discrimination section of Lesson 6 (page 72) from Lessons and Activities in American Sign Language by Brenda E. Cartwright and Suellen J. Bahleda. Check out the book for more ASL Activities and watch for more examples from this series: “Signs That Are Close... But Not the Same.”

Resources

  1. Shaw, E. & Delaporte, Y. (2014). A Historical and Etymological Dictionary of American Sign Language. Washington: Gallaudet University Press.

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be exactly the same regardless, but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

Signing Children’s Books: I Have to Go!

Learning Tips   |  Friday, March 1, 2019

By John Miller

This article is part of our “Signing Children’s Books” series, which highlights children’s books and pairs them with pre-built Signing Savvy word lists to help you get started with learning and signing the vocabulary in the book. Reading and literacy is so important. By sharing these pre-built word lists, we hope to cut down on prep time for families that are just beginning to learn ASL and hope you can find more comfort in sharing literacy with our young deaf children.

Kids love the book I Have to Go! Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko do a great job with this book. The pictures are awesome and the story is just fun to share with children of all ages.

Kids love to talk about bodily functions! They just do! This book is a humorous take on what happens when a little boy has to pee at the worst times. Kids love it because they get to say the word PEE… and they get to openly talk about going to the bathroom and see the adults react to it all. 

Extension Activities

I read this book often with little ones who are working on potty training. They think it is really funny! You can also find a lot of potty training activities on Pinterest.

A game that would pair well with this book is the Hasbro Toilet Trouble Game. Kids think it's fun and hilarious and love the excitement of possibly getting squirted with water by the toilet. Although we traditionally play this as a group or family game, I have also seen some kids like to play with the toilet from the game for imaginary play with dolls.

I also made mitten cookies as a treat to go along with the story. Here is a recipe I love for super cute mitten cookies by I Am Baker. The mittens fit with the snowsuit portion of the story.

Get the Pre-Built Word List for this Book!

I hope through the I Have to Go! word list you will feel confident to share this story with your children. You can also bring up signs on the Signing Savvy Member App using the pre-built word list as you go through the book. 

Word List for I Have to Go!

View word list of ASL signs for the book I Have to Go!

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be exactly the same regardless, but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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Interpreter Q & A: Using Your Phone During a Break

Interpreter Q & A: Using Your Phone During a Break

Interpreter Tips   |  Tuesday, February 26, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

This article is part of our "Dear BC, Interpreter Q & A” series, which answers questions on interpreting and Deaf culture from multiple perspectives.

Dear BC,

During a lull in a staff meeting where I was interpreting, I used my phone to enter some appointments into my calendar (and check my grocery list). Afterwards, my team interpreter told me that she thought doing that was rude and unprofessional. Do you agree?

Sincerely,
Just Multitasking

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

I think each situation is different but I am taking a "lull during a staff meeting" to mean that no interpreting needed to occur. In that case, I think it would be okay to check your phone. It is a good idea to always check with your interpreting partner and your client beforehand. During breaks, I often use that time to discuss how we think things are going and any ideas for the rest of the meeting. We need to be prepared to interpret during breaks as well. This would prevent resentments or misunderstandings like this from surfacing later.

Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

If by "lull" you mean checking your phone while your partner is interpreting, then yes, it is rude – you should be working. But, if by "lull" you mean "break" and that everyone is out of the room or standing around talking, then no, generally that’s not a problem. I understand when interpreters need to use the phone or check messages during breaks (I do, too). However, if I needed to speak to the “big boss” during the break, and I saw you checking your grocery list, it would make me feel uncomfortable because this is still work time for me. In the future, I suggest checking with your client and partner before doing personal things on work time.

What's your take on checking your phone during a break? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

Signing Children’s Books: Baby’s First Library ABC

Learning Tips   |  Friday, February 22, 2019

By John Miller

This article is part of our “Signing Children’s Books” series, which highlights children’s books and pairs them with pre-built Signing Savvy word lists to help you get started with learning and signing the vocabulary in the book. Reading and literacy is so important. By sharing these pre-built word lists, we hope to cut down on prep time for families that are just beginning to learn ASL and hope you can find more comfort in sharing literacy with our young deaf children.

Baby's First Library ABC is great to have it in your arsenal of board books. Each page contains a letter from the alphabet and a picture that corresponds with that letter. The simple pictures are colorful and clear and easy to identify for young children.

Extension Activities

The great thing to do with any board book is print off the signs and stick them in the book with tape or clear contact paper to help you remember the signs. Once my young students figured out the connection between signs and pictures, they loved looking through this book again and again. The students even liked using the book as a teaching tool for other students who were new to learning sign language.

There are also a ton of ideas on sites like Pinterest to do with ABC's. Check them out and have fun! 

Learning the ABCs in ASL

We also have some fun ABC handshape printables now on Signing Savvy for members that you could print out and use with this book.

Alphabet Letters in American Sign Language (ASL)

Signing Savvy Member Feature: Download this image / flyer as a printable PDF page.


Get the Pre-Built Word List for this Book!

I hope through the Baby’s First Library ABC pre-built word list you will feel confident to share this story with your children. For those that are more tech inclined, you can bring up signs on the Signing Savvy Member App using the pre-built word list as you go through the book. 

Word List for Baby’s First Library ABC

View word list of ASL signs for the book Babys First Library ABC

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be exactly the same regardless, but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

View/Add Comments (0 comments)

Interpreter Q & A: What are our boundaries as interpreters to say something to a Deaf client about their right to request a qualified interpreter?

Interpreter Tips   |  Wednesday, February 20, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

This article is part of our "Dear BC, Interpreter Q & A” series, which answers questions on interpreting and Deaf culture from multiple perspectives.

This article was also published in the Fall 2018 (Issue 35 Volume 4) Edition of VIEWS Magazine from RID. VIEWS is a digital publication distributed quarterly by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and dedicated to the interpreting profession. The magazine includes RID member spotlights, announcements from the RID board, and engaging stories about issues impacting the interpreting community. See this article (on page 28) and more in the Fall 2018 Edition of VIEWS Magazine from RID.

Dear BC,

During a doctor’s appointment I interpreted, the doctor referred the Deaf patient to physical therapy. When we were leaving the office, the Deaf client asked me about my availability to interpret her upcoming physical therapy appointments. I told the Deaf woman my schedule and she said, “Oh well, that’s fine, if you can’t come, my daughter will come and interpret.” Her daughter is a young girl who can sign, but she is not an interpreter. The daughter has no training or certification.

What are our boundaries as interpreters to say something to a Deaf client about their right to request a qualified interpreter? I don’t want to look like I’m just trying to make money. My concern is also that her doctors will begin to think that they don’t need to hire interpreters for her because she can just bring her daughter for free.

Sincerely,
Concerned Interpreter 

The video features a full interpretation of what is discussed in this article.

An Experienced Interpreter's Perspective:

If the patient prefers a relative, that is their choice. At the same time, doctors need to be educated about the hazards of using family members to interpret. Liability issues should compel them to want to avoid lawsuits.

An Experienced Deaf Consumer's Perspective:

The NAD has a position paper on this topic. It explains the cons of using family members to interpret. This is an on-going dilemma, especially in rural and remote areas where there are few interpreters. It is unfair to put the burden to interpret on family members, regardless if they are qualified/certified.

What's your perspective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

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