Embedded Questions in American Sign Language (ASL)

An embedded question is a question that is included in another sentence whether it's a declarative statement or a question.

If the embedded question is part of a statement, use a period and not a question mark at the end of the sentence.

Examples will be shown in both English and ASL.

In English, an embedded question is contained in this sentence: "I don't know where the train station is." The clause "(where) the train station is" is a noun clause.

Gloss: i/me not-know how fish
English translation: I don't know how to fish.

The embedded question HOW is contained in this statement in ASL.

Gloss: i/me know do++
English translation: I know what I'm doing.

The embedded question is explicitly embedded in this English statement, but when translated, WHAT is not presented in this ASL sentence. Even though, the concept or expression is the same.

Gloss: i/me know what you think. Also i/me know you think what.
English translation: I know what you are thinking.

The embedded question WHAT is contained in this ASL sentence.

More examples:
/\BICYCLE/\ IX-me CANNOT REMEMBER WHERE I BUY -- I can't remember where I bought the bicycle.

These are basic statements with embedded questions in ASL. There are more complex structures with embedded questions.

For this statement I'm not sure how long she's been gone, topicalization is used in this ASL sentence: /\HOW LONG IX1 GONE/\ IX-me NOT SURE where the gloss symbol /\ indicates raised eyebrows between HOW and GONE.

THEY MOVE-to /\WHERE/\ I/ME NO(nothing) IDEA -- I have no where they moved to. It's a rhetorical question.

/\FIRST+TIME/\ /\IX1 CL:get-on BICYCLE PRACTICE, IX-me CANNOT REMEMBER WHEN[neg]. -- I can't remember when she first learned how to ride a bike.

That's all for now. Interact with Deaf ASL speakers and eventually learn how they use.

These are some ASL lessons, tutorials, and tips that ASL students and language enthusiasts can explore and learn some ASL on their own relaxing pace.

Seeking some challenges? Try some stories, fables, and others in ASL storytelling and poetry. Study a complex system of subtle eye gazes, role-shifting, classifiers, sentence structures, and other linguistic features as well as poetics.