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Sign Loans

Loan Words

Any spoken language has borrowed a number of words and phrases from another spoken language. English has quite a large number of loan words from other languages from Latin and Greek to French and German. Here is a few examples:

Arabic: algebra
French: music
German: kindergarten, sauerkraut
Greek: comedy, drama
Spanish: cigar, taco, tortilla.

Many names of places and locations are a common "borrowing" from one language to another, whether it be spoken or signed. Sign language is no exception.

ASL and many other sign languages have borrowed signs from one another as well. Signed words of places, landmarks, and other locations are ones of the common loan signs. The Handspeak dictionary includes some borrowed signs from other foreign sign languages when there are no available signs in ASL; however, it also includes some foreign signs for learners' interests.

Fingerspelled Loan Signwords

ASL has some loan words from English or another spoken language, in which fingerspelling is the method. Although ASL is not a translation of English in any sense, English has affected ASL to some extent. Even though some fingerspelled words already have their own non-fingerspelled signs, they have nice pattern and movement to fingerspell at ease. Fingerspelling-based signs usually consist of 3-4 letters of short words. For examples, "fun", "bus", "pizza", "TTY".