CLOSE

Locative classifier in sign language

Classifier is a pronoun-like linguistic symbol that represents a class or group of referents. In ASL, a noun should be signed first before using its classifier to refer to it until a subject or noun is changed.

Locative classifier (LCL)

Learn how locative classifier is used in American Sign Language.

The signer begins with the ASL word table [left image] and then assigns it a pronominal classifier (palm faced down) for the table (in the same way that you speak "Ms. Jane Doe is..." and then "she... she..." through the sentences). This classifier can be used to refer to a table, desk surface, etc.

The signer then utters the ASL word cat (the noun) and immediately assigns it the pronominal classifier [below]. Notice that the signer still holds the pronominal classifier for the table.

"The cat is sitting below the table." The bent 2-handshape, that is the classifier, represents the sitting cat.

Or, "... sitting on the table".

Or, "... lying down on the table". The signer has changed the palm orientation of the classifier. If she lowers her eyelids at the same time she signs "lying down", it means the "it (the cat) is sleeping on the table."

Below shows an example of using a pathline of locative classifier. Index finger is the common handshape for a pathline in a verb predicate.

Gloss: ball thrown cl-pathline[medium]

The CL-pathline can be used for the movement or trace of a bird flying across the sky, a horse running around the track, etc.

Related Posts

Also see what is classifier? for an introduction.

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.