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American Sign Language: "ASL Minimizers"


An ASL Hero writes:

Hello Dr. Vicars,
Does ASL have a way to express minimizers similar to English "lift a finger" or "budge an inch"? I understand that there's probably not a direct literal translation that would be widely used within the Deaf community, but have you ever encountered any sort of idiomatic expression in ASL to discuss how much someone didn't do something if you were fed up or exasperated?
Thank you!
K.F. (Name initialized to protect his/her privacy)

RESPONSE:
Hello _________,
A sign that comes to mind is a sign that cocks the thumbnail under the tip of the pinkie and then flicks the thumb while using a facial expression of contempt. This sign doesn't show up in any print or online dictionaries that I know of and thus doesn't have a standard label but we could perhaps uses a working label of: SMALL-[extremely-minimal-amount]-[flick-thumb-from-under-pinkie]

There are also a couple versions of "flick-from-shoulders" and/or my-shoulders-are-empty that are types of "minimizers."
The other day I saw a friend do a "shrug-shoulders"-[double-movement]-[apathetic-facial-expression] sign as part of a "role-shift" representing a specific person's attitude and response to helping out with a project.
- Dr. Bill
 



 

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