ASLpah.com | Issue
51, October, 2007 | William G. Vicars Ed.D., Editor
Hello ASL Heroes!
In a message dated 9/17/2007 6:50:12 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, email@example.com
Sorry to bother you, but I had a question about the "work" sign.
On the web-site, you show the sign as sort of knocking your wrists
together in a sort of circular motion.
In my math class, the interpreter for one of the students uses a
They make c-handshapes and tap them on the dominant shoulder - like
showing a sack over the shoulder.
Is this a regional sign? or does it mean a different type of work?
If you could clarify, it would be greatly benifitial. Thanks!
The sign you describe is the sign that is commonly used to mean "employer"
If your local interpreter (note the spelling of interpreter) is using that
to mean "work" then I'd bet it is either a "regional variation," or
"interpreter error," or you have misunderstood the connection between what
was said and what was signed due to "lag time" between the speaker and the
In a message dated 9/25/2007 2:13:19 A.M. Pacific
Daylight Time, Cynthia writes:
...Your number practice site (http://asl.bz)
has 32 rather than 23. When typing 32 after viewing
it shows incorrect. The correct answer is 23 so
something is amiss there.
At the number site (http://asl.bz), the number 23 is
indeed the way it should be. The number 23 has a special
movement that starts as a 3 and turns into a mutated
"L/K" type shape. It uses a double movement. So I can
see how you might think that it means "32" but it
doesn't. It is just an advanced form of the sign "23."
p.s. When you access that site it is important to give
it time to load, there are many pictures that have to be
saved to your browser's cache.
Hi! Thanks for the feedback regarding Spanish
That is very interesting.
To let you know, the "Spanish Version" of Lifeprint
is simply an Alta Vista Babblefish translation.
It is done by a "computer" in "real time." Thus I
have no easy way of correcting the occasional
inaccuracies in the translation. The computer
program is translating at the individual "word"
level instead of at a conversational (or discourse)
level. I do appreciate you pointing it out though.
In a message dated 10/23/2007 5:02:17 P.M. Pacific
Daylight Time, bryantz@ writes:
My name is Zach and I am a CSUS student minoring
in ASL. We met a few
times at Denny's last semester. Anyways, I am
studying Spanish abroad in
Mexico right now and we have to tell cultural
stories so I was browsing
your jokes to see if I could find something good to
tell. The spanish
secion has really helped me, so thank you for
While reading I noticed that joke number 4 (mama
caliente) is translated
a little awkward. When talking about a pretty women
or a "hot women" in
spanish you don't use caliente. Caliente is used
with food or objects, but
when used with people it means horny. It reminds me
of how some people
repeat the sign for hungry not knowing what it
means. Here's the
definitions of caliente (from the verb calentar):
definition 1 part 4 explains it in slang as "to be
Also, at least in Mexcio, mama or mamacita is a bit
rude to say to women.
I know the joke doesn't translate exactly, but you
may consider using
chica or mujer (both mean women).
I would suggest "chica guapa" or "chica sexy"
thanks for all you do!
In a message dated 10/31/2007 9:23:20 A.M. Pacific
Daylight Time, lalaliv314@ writes:
If the sign for pain/hurt can be signed over the
body part that's hurting, how would you indicate
that your hand or finger(s) hurt?
Thank you very much,
The concept of "hurt" is quite often expressed by
spelling the word "hurt" very quickly near the location
of the pain. The spelling of "hurt" can actually take
the form of "lexicalized fingerspelling." (Check out
the topic of lexicalized fingerspelling at the
Lifeprint.com library.) When used at the location of
the pain this sign is also considered to be a "locative"
In response to your question about "how would you
indicate that your hand or finger(s) hurt?" -- I'd do
the sign for "hands" and then sign "pain." Or if it was
a specific point on my hand I'd point to it and sign
"pain." If it were my "left" elbow, I'd likely just
spell "hurt" (as a lexicalized version) near the elbow,
while using appropriate facial expression.
In a message dated 10/17/2007 8:08:39 P.M. Pacific
Daylight Time, eliot@ writes:
your CD there is a variation of WORK. This
variation uses both “a” hands, but taps the inside
wrists together with the a hands’ palms facing one
In our area this is a 4 letter word starting with
I’m not well versed in the vulgarities of ASL, but
the students in schools certainly are!
I just thought this was interesting.
Thanks for a GREAT site and a GREAT CD. I just
ordered (and received) another, the updated version.
The variation of F___ to which you are referring
actually has a slightly different (internal) movement.
It starts with the right (if you are right handed) fist
bent forward at the wrist slightly and then as you move
the arm downward the wrist thrusts forward as the fist
tilts backward. (Imagine the movement you make when
giving a motorcycle gas.)
Additionally, it generally doesn't make contact with the
This is different from the WORK (variation) sign which
doesn't change the angle of the fist.
In a message dated 10/15/2007 12:02:17 P.M. Pacific
Daylight Time, SStokes@sheltonschools.org writes:
I love your website but I sure wish you would use a
different picture and analogy to make your point. I
would be reluctant to use this page for any of my NA
families because not all chiefs wear headdresses and
this is stereotypical.Thanks for your consideration.
Thank you for the feedback. As a result of your email I
have added the word "some" to the description. I have
also removed the word "Indian."
I will keep the image because it is a fact that many
Native American tribes do use headdresses. It
is part of their culture.
I am simply providing my students with a mental image
that they can use to remember the sign. I hold a very
similar mental image (of a chief in a headdress) from my
childhood memories of associating with my friends at the
Intermountain Inter-Tribal School in Brigham City Utah
where I grew up. I remember the exciting pow-wows, the
ornate costumes, thundering drums, and amazing dances.
Greg Littlewhiteman, the student captain of the campus
chess team, used to explain to me (over games of
chess) the culture of and the differences in culture
between the 100 or so tribes represented at the school.
Yes, you read that right, there were representatives
from around a hundred or more tribes there. It was an
amazing place. They (the government) closed it down in
1984 as part of a shift toward promoting better
education on the reservations.
The words "culture" and "stereotype" are two sides of
the same coin. Both words can refer to perceptions of
characteristics and traits associated with a group.
People use the "culture" side of the coin when they
want to support their point of view. People use the
"stereotype side" when they want to attack someone
else's point. Whether an image (such as a Native
American in a headdress) is an insulting stereotype
or an iconic celebration of a proud culture pretty much
depends on the viewer's point of view (paradigm). I
suspect most Native American readers will see the icon
and think "That's cool." I also believe many will
appreciate the "mention" of an aspect of
the larger culture even though "their" own tribe's chief
might not use a headdress.
At this point certain readers might start thinking (or
muttering), "What credentials does this guy have that he
thinks he's qualified to comment on what a Native
American will and will not think about any particular
topic?" Well, I could (and will) mention that my
grandfather was Navajo, my mother is half Navajo, and I
am at least one fourth, but that would be (and
is) meaningless since a pedigree (bloodline) doesn't
make one an expert. The nice thing about this day and
age is that we don't have to guess. All we have to do
is ask. I'll put this in my next newsletter and ask my
Native American friends and readers to set me straight
if I need straightening.
(Dr. Vicars of Lifeprint.com)
Looking for an ACCREDITED online ASL course? How about
one offered though the California State University system?
JoAnna Rodgers (firstname.lastname@example.org), Program
Coordinator, California State University Sacramento College of
Continuing Education, 3000 State University Drive East
Sacramento, CA 95819-6103 T (916) 278-4813