WORK in sign language

"How do you say 'work' in American Sign Language (ASL)?"

Meaning: a job or activity that you do regularly especially in order to earn money; the place where you do your job; activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant "S" (handshape), palm down (orientation), dominant wrist taps twice (movement) on the top of the passive or non-dominant "S" handshape.


Word associations: WORKFORCE, WORKAHOLIC

Opposite: PLAY

Kids say the darndest thing

Kids say the darndest thing in sign language. Watch what Juli says in ASL.

Observe a couple of things in the video. At age 3, this child signed left-handed and one-handed while holding a spoon in her right hand, even though she was right-handed. Yet, it was still comprehensible. Perhaps it's an analog to vocally talking while munching.

At this age, children from baby to preschool age may sign comfortably with either hand, but over time, it usually forms into a dominant hand (mostly right-handed).

Another observation is that the child demonstrated a sense of humor! She teased her mother, joking about her father's different job.

Baby signing WORK in ASL

Watch the timelapse video (2015) of how the baby Juli acquires the ASL word WORK on the phonological level from babbling to word (sign) as how her language develops from one word to a sentence in a time lapse.

This baby began with the "5" handshape, one of a few unmarked handshapes. Then quickly evolved to "A" and finally "S", both also other two of the unmarked handshapes.

The baby's concept of work was probably generic in her observation based on these patterns: dad's wearing a firefighter uniform associated with being gone and then back; mom carrying a black workbag being gone and then back.

Psst... did you know that baby Juli's first babbling word was WORK? Not MILK. Nor MOM. Well, that's a long story. :D

Another "did you know that?" Studies show that babbling emerges at about 6-7 months in both speech and signing. Google neuroscientist Dr. Laura Petitto's work.

Another interesting thing is that the dominant condition shows in the baby Juli's WORK-based babbling. It means that one hand moves only as shown in a regular ASL sign, even the sign/word has the same handshape and movement in both hands, except for palm orientation.


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