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
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
A few examples of ASL signs would include:
2. SINGLE SOMETHING SOMEONE
3. N AKED N UDE AVAILABLE EMPTY SPACE
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ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars