ASL University ►


Polysemy in ASL:


An ASL teacher asks:
Dear Dr. Bill,
I am wondering if it is correct (that that one sign can convey more than one meaning and a person would know by context which meaning was intended (as is the case with so many words in the English language)?
- Thanks!
____________
 

Dear _____,
Yes, certainly one sign can have several different meanings.
A word or sign having more than one meaning is known as "polysemy."
A word or sign that has more than one meaning is refered to as being "polysemous."

A few examples of ASL signs would include:

1.  CONGRESS, COUNCIL, COMMITTEE.
2.  SINGLE SOMETHING SOMEONE
3.  N AKED  N UDE  AVAILABLE  EMPTY  SPACE
-- Bill


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