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From:  Susanne Bentele
Date:  Wed Jan 13, 1999  8:18 pm
Subject:  Re: actors

Hi there,
I don't know much of ASL, but for me the signs you described seem not so
much to be compounds rather than words with a suffix (or infix or whatever)
which is a bound morpheme (i.e. which cannot occur all by itself).
But Joe is right - it is getting quite linguistically in here... :-)
In german sign language we have something very similar for negation; some
kind of 'alpha'-movement adds the negation to the actual sign. It cannot be
produced all by itself but as far as I know when it occurs it always means


Universität Hamburg
Institut für Deutsche Gebärdensprache und Kommunikation Gehörloser
University of Hamburg
Institute of German Sign Language and Communication of the Deaf
Binderstr. 34
20146 Hamburg - Germany
Tel.: ++49-40-4123-6734
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Cecelia Smith wrote:
>ahhh, you picked a good one here.

>Those four signs, which require two English words to gloss, are very
>interesting to me morphologically.
>The first three start with a part of an actual sign (KNOW, LIKE, WANT) And
>are negated by a specific movement that brings in negation. DON'T CARE does
>not have that readily identifiable part (CARE) but still has the negation
>part. What is that thing on the nose mean? CARE???? I don't think so.
>But the whole sign means "DON'T CARE" ... HMMMmmmmmm interesting
>Are they compounds? I think so. But what about DON'T CARE -- what is that
>from? And what is the negation thing.. that is ONLY found in these limited
>signs. (if you know of any others, let me know. I'd really like to find
>Sometimes, I think the negation part of these signs must be a remnant left
>from a much earlier version of the Sign Language we use... much like the
>prefix "luke" as in "lukewarm" What is luke? And it is ONLY found when
>describing temperature, and then only with a level of warm. And then there is
>still "DON'T CARE"
>Also notice that the negation is specifically identified to mean DON'T ..
>which is itself a compound of meaning Do and Not ..... can we
>complicate things more?
>But your question... was are they 2 signs. No. A compound in Sign Language
>is not two signs anymore than a compound in English is two words. They are
>produced as one unit, that's what makes them a compound. Like the English
>word "cupboard" is a compound of cup and board, and is pronounced more like
>"kabird" and not "cup-board"
>another 2 cents. Can you tell I'm avoiding doing housework?
>Cecelia Smith (~_~)
>(who read her last message and remembered the concept of Spell Check)
>In a message dated 1/10/99 5:12:06 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>> You guys are going to educate me despite myself.
>> So then "don't know" in sign language is two symbols?

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