Level: Linguistics

Noun-verb pairs in sign language

Below illustrates some examples of the noun-verb pairs. In noun-verb pairs, often a noun has the two short movements whereas a verb has one long movement. There are some exceptions. Not all verbs or nouns have their pairs.

noun in ASL

It is the noun for airplane or airport in ASL. As for identifying which the "airport" or "airplane" it is, they can be identified in context.

This ASL sign to-fly is a verb.

This ASL noun for chair can be identified as a noun by its smaller, repeated movement.

This ASL verb for sit has a single, slightly longer movement.

Keep in mind that not all verbs and nouns are noun-verb pairs. Some signs with the same handshape, palm orientation and location but different movements have different meanings. E.g. MOVIE, NICE, PAPER, SCHOOL, CLEAN-UP.

More examples of the noun-verb pairs are as follows:

CAR / DRIVE, BOOK / OPEN-BOOK, BRUSH (noun) / BRUSH (verb), WINDOW / CLOSE-WINDOW, BICYCLE / BIKING, BABY / ROCKING-BABY, and so on.

Related posts

Related topic: noun in ASL.

You may be also interested in agent-action construction in sign language linguistics.

Also see Verbs in sign language.

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