Level: Linguistics

Depicting verbs in American Sign Language

The older linguistic term smiliar to depicting verbs used to be known as "classifier predicates". Classifier is a handshape that represents a class of nouns. It functions similar to pronoun.

First, a noun is signed before using a classifier that represents or depicts the noun in a verb phrase.

Below are some examples of the depicting verbs.

cl-car-over-hill, cl-car-pass-by, cl-person-clumsily-walking, etc.

An example of the sentence that contains the subject, depicating verb, and object is as follows:

wood dcl-stick cl1-loc, man cl2-trip-over-stick (English: A man trips over the wood stick.


Clayton Valli, et al. "Linguistics of American Sign Language: An Introduction." Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. 2005. Pp 76-82.

Charlotte Haker-Shenk and Dennis Cokely. "American Sign Language: A Teacher's Resource Text on Grammar and Culture." Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet Press. 1980.

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