Sign Word List: Sign of the Days
Word 247 of 365

Word List Author Note: April is National Garden Month and also Lawn and Garden Month.

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English Equivalent: GARDEN
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Sign Variations:
This sign can also be used to say:

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User Comments

NOTE: Comments are attached to the specific sign variation for a word. Please add the comment to the specific variation that the comment applies to.

Sign of the day for 3 July 2019

Signing Savvy Member

Savvy User James Savvy Member
Saturday, August 3, 2019

In the ASL Gloss phrase for this date you spell g a r d e n when garden is in your dictionary; why?

Choosing signs when signing

Signing Savvy Admin

Jillian @ Signing Savvy Savvy Admin
Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Good question! As you know, there are many English words that have multiple sign options (such as the word GARDEN above, which has 4 sign variations listed - 2 ASL, 1 English, and fingerspelling). We do our best to include videos for multiple sign variations when they exist for the meaning of an English word.

We always include the fingerspelling tab for every word in the dictionary because fingerspelling is always an option (and fingerspelling can sometimes be the most concise way to say a specific word). For example, if you look at the ASL signs for GARDEN they are in essence signing SOIL + AREA and/or GROW + AREA, which mean GARDEN, but you can just as easily fingerspell G-A-R-D-E-N when you want to say garden.

The two example sentences we currently have that use GARDEN are:



We have two native signers in the video shoot when we record the ASL phrases. They try to select what feels the most natural to them when signing a phrase, but sometimes they even disagree and will have a discussion and try different options before a final ASL phrase is shot. 

So why did they fingerspelled G-A-R-D-E-N in one of the sentences, when there is an ASL sign for GARDEN? It felt more natural to them in that instance. They said it also had to do with the signs for GARDEN and GROW (which was later repeated in the sentence) being similar.

The choice of which sign to use when there are multiple options is sometimes just a preference by the signer, but also has to do with fluency. This is similar to how there are multiple ways to say the same thing in English - different words and word order can be used to say a statement with the same meaning. Someone just learning English or a young child, may choose different words than a fluent adult. Context, audience, and experience also matter. For example, a Professor may state something different in an academic paper published in a prestigious journal then when they are explaining the same concept to an incoming class of undergrad students.

With so many sign options, it can be confusing to know what is the “right” sign to use in each context. Please be assured there isn’t always only one “right” answer. This is also a big reason we continue to add more videos of example sentences. The more you sign and the more you see signing and sign with other signers, the more comfortable you will become with choosing signs when signing.