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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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What's Your Sign for Pizza? An Introduction to Variation in American Sign Language

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LOCATION SIGNS

We looked at 2,594 examples of signs that are signed at the forehead in citation form but can move down. For convenience, we refer to signs in this class as “location signs,” that is, signs that may vary in their location.


Figure 11. Citation forms of know and for

Examples of location signs are verbs such as know, believe, and remember, adjectives such as federal and dizzy, nouns such as deer and father, prepositions such as for, and interrogatives such as why. Figure 11 shows know and for in their citation forms, while Figure 12 shows them at lower locations.


Figure 12. Noncitation forms of know and for

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Clip 6. The CD shows three examples of location signs: (1) The man signs pro.1 (“I”) think and then several other signs (wonder, boy, know, know-nothing), all at the forehead level; (2) the woman on the right signs search in neutral space, not in front of her face; and (3) the girl in the middle signs know, meaning “You know?” very low on her cheek.

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