hot air balloon
In a message dated 7/7/2007 3:44:18 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
Hi Dr. Bill,
I am a writer and I am currently working on a book about teaching
sign language to hearing babies. I realized that in all of the
classes I have taken on the subject and in all of the research I
have done, I have not come across a sign for "hot air balloon." Is
there such a sign? If so, could you possibly explain its formation
to me? I greatly appreciate your help with this matter!
Teresa R. Simpson
When first introducing the concept of a "hot air balloon" into adult
conversation you would typically sign HOT and spell A-I-R B-A-L-L-O-O-N.
I note that when fingerspelling the word "balloon" at extremely high
speed as part of this phrase that I tend to skip the second "L" and the
Now, I realize that fingerspelling isn't all that fascinating or easy.
After you have introduced the concept of a "hot air balloon" you can
represent that balloon by using classifiers to show what it looks like
and how it moves:
Pretend you are a right-handed giant. Hold onto the basket of the
balloon with your left hand as if holding a glass of water (your hand is
in a "C" shape." Place your right hand palm down on top of the
balloon in a loose claw-shape showing the roundness of the balloon.
Then float your "balloon" through the air about 20 centimeters while
blowing a bit of air through your lips with slightly puffed cheeks. Do
this "sign" somewhat higher than your normal signing space to help show
it is something that is "up in the air."
If a group of skilled signers were planning a hot air balloon trip the
above "sign" would eventually become smaller and smaller and involve
less and less movement until it became standardized as a quick
"C"/"claw" "sign" easily recognized by members of that group. On the
other hand, many of them would simply spell "balloon" and it would be
"assumed/understood" to mean "hot air balloon."
American Sign Language University ™ ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars