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American Sign Language:  "classifier 3" = "CL:3"

A "Classifier 3" (CL:3) is a thumb-up three handshape.  CL:3 is generally used to represent a vehicle.  It can be used as a pronoun for cars, trucks, motorcycles, (some) boats, and submarines.  It is NOT used for airplanes, but it is used in one of the variations of "helicopter."

Depending on the movement, you can use CL:3 to show the parking of a car, a row of cars, an accident, etc.

CL:3 = "vehicles"


Some classifier usages become so common that they graduate to becoming established, conventional signs.  For example: It is easy to see the "Classifier 3" roots of the the sign GARAGE.  But the sign "garage" is so common that we don't think of it as a "classifier." We just think of it as "sign."  But if you use the CL:3 handshape to show 3 cars in a garage or if the cars are parked forward or backward then you would be using the handshape as a classifier.


For more information regarding the "GARAGE" sign see:  ► GARAGE

The sign for "crash" is "loosely" based on "CL:3" type handshapes.  But if you observe the sign done at high speed during signed conversations you'll notice that the handshape starts as a "modified 5" handshape that turns into an "S" shape.  But again, it is easy to see the CL:3 roots of this sign.




You can use a "CL:3" as part of the helicopter sign to show how a helicopter is moving through the air.

Below I'm showing a version of the helicopter sign.  If I were to move the helicopter forward or sideways the sign would become a "classifier."  If I just keep the sign in the same place and don't add any special movements nor any non-manual markers (eye-gaze, head movements, etc.) then it is not a classifier, but instead it is just a normal sign for "helicopter."  If I do add other movement and non-manual markers, then this sign becomes a classifier showing me how the helicopter is functioning.



CL-3: "a very long row of cars"
First show the sign for "CAR" topicalized with your eyebrows up. Then show a "CL-3" and an intense facial expression and move the CL-3 sideways in a straight line about 12 or more inches.

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