Honorific Pronouns in American Sign Language

Honorific pronouns in American Sign Language (ASL) imply or express high status, politeness, or respect. It is used in formal contexts, such as formal speeches, introductions with high figures, poetry, and such.

In honorific referencing, pronouns are made of the handshape "B" with open thumb and palm facing up.

The honorific pronoun is made with a "B" handshape when introducing a person in a very formal setting.

Likewise, when introducing oneself in a very formal setting, the signer uses the honorific "I" (a first person pronoun).

Glosses (transliteration): YOU MINE [gloss], YOU-honorific?
English equivalent: Will you be my valentine?

The first sign is a regular personal 2nd pronoun YOU and the last sign is a honorific 2nd pronoun you-honorific. But, in this context (personal valentine thing), it's a "formal" tone in an informal context. Learn the rules in various contexts in ASL/Deaf community.

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