Possessive pronouns in American Sign Language

Possessive is a grammatical feature used to indicate a relationship of ownership or possession. Below shows how to use possessive adjectives, possessive pronouns, and possessive apostrophe in American Sign Language (ASL).

Possessive Adjectives

A possessive adjective is used to describe a noun. E.g. my, his, its, and so on.

MY, YOUR, HIS/HER, ITS, OUR

Unlike possessive pronouns in ASL, the movement for most possessive adjectives is generally once.

This can be glossed as child poss mother. It can be then re-interpreted as child's mother or, though not directly translated as, mother of a/the child.

ASL: my

It is a singular possessive adjective.

OUR

It is a singular possessive adjective. It can also mean ours if it is used alone without a noun.

ASL: your

ASL: her, his

The ASL word his/her is a non-gender specific possessive adjective.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronoun is used instead of a noun. E.g. Mine, ours, and so on.

A possessive pronoun is used instead of a noun. E.g. Mine, ours, etc. In ASL, the movement for some possessive pronouns is usually repetitive (twice), quick and short.

ASL: hers/his

ASL: mine

ASL: yours

Possessive Apostrophe (apostrophe + s)

Possessive apostrophe or genitive marker indicates possession. The ASL handshape "s" is rapidly turned inward to indicate "'s" right after signing an ASL word (e.g. tree's).

The handshape "s" is rapidly turned inward to indicate "'s" right after signing an ASL word (e.g. tree's).

Possessive Case

This phrase in ASL is translated as: a mother's child.

It is the opposite of the previous phrase. This phrase in ASL is translated as: a child's mother.

Related Posts

Also see personal pronouns.

Also see listing and ranking: referencing grammar.

Practice signing pronouns and possessives in sentences.

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.