Read The American Sign Language Phrase Book Online

Authors: Lou Fant,Barbara Bernstein Fant,Betty Miller

The American Sign Language Phrase Book (10 page)

BOOK: The American Sign Language Phrase Book
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In order to sign the equivalent of "I saw you," it is necessary to use a time indicator. One may use signs that will place the event in a specific time, such as "yesterday," "last night," or "this morning."

Yesterday, I saw.

Last night, I saw.

This morning, I saw.

One may also use the FINISH sign to indicate no specific time, simply the past:

I saw.

The PAST sign may be used instead of the FINISH sign, which conveys slightly more information.

I saw him/her/it before already.

The use of a time indicator also applies to the future tense.

Tomorrow, I will see.

Next week, I will see.

Tonight, I will see.

The previous phrases illustrate placing the event in a specific future time. For a nonspecific future time, use the WILL sign.

I will see.

Notice that nonspecific time indicators such as FINISH and WILL usually follow the verb; however, they may come before the verb as well. Specific time indicators, on the other hand, always come at the beginning of a statement.

Context is used a great deal in ASL when establishing or determining tense. For instance, the signer may tell the watcher about an incident that occurred some time in the past or that will occur in the future. The signer will first establish the time of the incident by using a time indicator sign; then the signer will never repeat the time indicator sign or use any additional ones. The watcher knows that all the events described by the signer occur in the time frame established at the beginning of the statement by the time indicator sign used.

Verb Directionality

Verbs in ASL fall into three categories: nondirectional verbs, one-directional verbs, and multi-directional verbs. Movement in verb signs may express who is performing an action (the subject) and to whom the action is directed (the direct object). This quality of movement is called verb directionality.

The nondirectional verbs do not express either subject or direct object; therefore, these two things (subject and direct object nouns and pronouns) must be supplied.

I love you.

I understand mother.

She wants a car.

BOOK: The American Sign Language Phrase Book
2.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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