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Mouth morpheme "oo" in American Sign Language

The mouth morpheme "oo" in ASL is a non-manual grammatical signal. When this mouthing is used, it may convey an adverb or adjective of the ASL word. Or, it may modify an ASL word to describe its meaning.

This morpheme can be attached to many ASL verbs, adjectives, and adverbs; on the other hand, there are a few ASL words that the "oo" morpheme is an undetachable part of these words. That is, it's a must part of the ASL word. For example, naked/nude.

The "oo" mouthing is commonly used to describe a size: small, tiny, little. E.g. CL:cup-oo (a small cup).

Another usage of the "oo" is to describe something that is round. E.g. round, curved, wavy, ...

It's also used to indicate that something is thin. E.g. skinny, ...

Emptiness is also used with the mouth morpheme "oo". E.g. two-handed, open "8" handshape sweeping in air with "oo" to "A" handshape; barren; naked/nude; ...

Closeness is also indicated with the mouthing "oo". E.g. "by a hair/whisker", "(mother/daughter) very close", ...

Incredibly (for the lack of a better term) is used as an adverb with an interjection, verb, or such. E.g. WOW-oo (as in "unbelievable!" which is not the same as WOW as in "amazing!"); Y-LONG-head (incredibly long-waiting).

Slowly/quietly. E.g. driving-oo, ...

Lightly/light. E.g. Light blue, lightly windy, ...

And a miscellany of other meanings. Socialize and learn every day to pick up subtleties and their complexity of meanings. For beginners, just observe and learn over a long period of time. Use the simplest meanings to start with (e.g. size). If unsure, don't use it.

Videos of the examples above will be provided sometime later.


Related topics: Describing size.

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