Comparative adjectives in sign language

In English, adjectives have three degrees of comparison: positive adjective (normal adjective form), comparative adjective, and superlative adjective. The degrees of an adjective expresses the intensity of an adjective in increasing order.

E.g. tall (positive adjective), taller (comparative adjective), and tallest (superlative adjective). Good, better, best. Sometimes words, such as "inferior to", "senior to", etc.

In ASL, it's not something you can easily add "-ER" or "-EST" to the signed words. It may a bit complicated and it takes practice to understand different ways of using degrees of comparison in ASL.

Some possible vocabulary for the comparative adjectives are: -ER, WORSE (two meanings), LESS-than, MORE, SUPERIOR-to, SENIOR-to, etc.

Some examples of the comparative adjectives will help you understand some. But, it's best to learn and practice this topic under the guidance of a qualified Deaf ASL teacher in classes.

Comparative Adjective

Let's look at about five sentences in English and how to sign the in ASL. As a reminder, there may be variants or slightly different ways of expressing these concepts.

This tutorial may be suitable for ASL level 200. If you're in the intermediate level, try this exercise -- for each, read the English sentence and try to produce a sentence in ASL yourself before you play the video.

Quickly review a few gloss symbols. When you see the symbol /\, it means raised eyebrows. Conversely, \/ (upside down) indicates burrowed eyebrows. It is often used in topicalization or OSV (Object-Subject-Verb) sentence structure. The symbol | between two glosses is used for contrastive structure.

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