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