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STOP in sign language
How to sign "stop" in American Sign Language (ASL)? And, how a toddler acquires the ASL word "stop".
Meaning: To cause (an action, process, or event) to come to an end.
Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant horizontal flat hand with palm facing left if right-handed moves down and stops at non-dominant palm-up flat hand.
Usage or context examples: This ASL sign or word is a base that you can use in pretty much general contexts, especially for beginners or learners.
Inflecting movement and intonation can convey nuances of meanings used by Deaf signers. One example is signing plural 'stop' glossed as STOP+ (two repetitions), STOP++ (three repetitions) used when in context of making a command or a stress.
Kid signing "stop"
The time-lapse video shows how the bilingual ASL-speaking toddler acquired the ASL word "stop". As each kid develops at different pace, this case study shows how the process in language development, specifically phonological acquisition, works in general.
At age 1;3 during the blooming one-word stage, the baby first first uttered "stop" in ASL after observing how her mother articulated. Then, she applied it to other contexts.
At first, her palms face each other which quickly evolved to a change of orientation at age 1;5, in which her non-dominant hand is in correct orientation but the palm of her dominant hand remains to be symmetrical with the non-dominant hand.
At age 2;0, she was able to manipulate her dominant hand non-symmetrically. This process is an example of proximalization -- the process of manipulating from shoulder to hand to fingers.
Related signs: FINISH, END, PAUSE, CEASE, TERMINATE, DISCONTINUE, HALT.
Opposite: START, CONTINUE, GO.
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[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]
Written by Adrean Clark, March 2017.