What's Your Sign for Pizza?
An Introduction to Variation in American Sign Language
Chart 4. Social Influences on the Location of Signs such as know
SIGNS WITH A 1 HANDSHAPE
The videotapes show many examples of signs with a 1 handshape. Very often a sign that has a 1 handshape in a sign language dictionary is produced with an L handshape, a 5 handshape, or some other handshape. For example, in the phrase pro.1 prefer (“I prefer”), the sign prefer has an Open 8 handshape, and it is not uncommon for the pro.1 sign also to have this handshape. When someone signs pro.1 know (“I know”), the handshape of the pro.1 often changes to look like the Bent B of know.
Clip 7. The CD shows four examples of 1 handshape signs: (1) The young man signs pro.1 (“I”) don't-know why, and the handshape of the pro.1 resembles that of don't-know; (2) the man on the right of the sofa signs pro.1 (“I”) can't remember with a standard handshape pro.1; (3) the man on the right signs pro.1 open-mouth, shake-head, with the standard handshape for pro.1; and (4) the man on the far right signs pro.1 (“I”) look-at, with a pro.1 handshape very much like the handshape for look-at.
We looked at more than five thousand examples of signs with 1 handshapes. The three most common variants account for approximately 95 percent of the examples: the citation 1 handshape (index finger extended, all other fingers and thumb closed); the L handshape (thumb and index extended, all other fingers closed); and the 5 handshape (all fingers open). These are illustrated in Figure 13.