When we use the phrase "classifier B" what we are talking about
is the fact that we can use "flat hands" (which are somewhat like
the fingerspelled letter "B") to represent things that can generally
be categorized as (or placed in the "class" of) being "flat."
For example, things like: paper, surfaces, tables,
countertops, shelves, etc.ere is the sign for SHELF (or if done a little
lower it means FLOOR).
The signs for WALL, DOOR, and/or SHELF (and other similar signs)
almost certainly started out as descriptions of what the things
looked like (the shape, placement, or usage). Then over time
the movements became widespread, condensed, and so common that a
person could do the sign "SHELF" and it would be recognized
instantly by other signers.
For example, h
If you do the sign for WALL it is just a "sign" (a lexicalized
If you were use those flat handshapes to do that sign bigger, smaller, at an
angle, multiple times, or modify it in some other way to depict (show)
additional details about the characteristics of the shelf -- you would be
using a classifier "B." (Note: Some people call classifiers "depictive
CL-B: "Something large (and relatively flat) moving forward"
The above sign could be used to show the forward movement of a train,
trolley, barge, battleship, a drag-racer, etc.
Also see: WALL
However, if you modify the sign for WALL to show the
characteristics of your wall (big, curved, slanted, etc.) the sign
becomes a classifier and is more specific than just a sign for
(Sure, a classifier is still a sign but it is a special type of sign
. Sort of like a "mom" is still a female, but a more specific
type of female.)
You can learn
American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars