Signs for NO

ASL signs for NO

Meaning: Definition: Used to give a negative response; the opposite of yes.

Pronunciation: Dominant-handed, first two fingers together tapping with the thumb in the space, palm orientation facing outward. The tap movement is sometimes once, sometimes twice, sometimes plural, depending on the contexts.

Did you know that the ASL sign "NO" was derived from the fingerspelled loan. It was evolved into the ASL sign?

Euphemism/meaning: no. Also meaning: don't do it.

Pronunciation: waving hand, palm orientation facing outward with the "oo" mouth morpheme and shaking head.

Used with a very strong emphasis.


Related signs: NONE, NOT, NOPE.

Opposite: YES.

Written ASL

[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.]

ASL written for NO

Written ASL digit for "NO" contributed by the ASLwrite community, 2018.

Deaf Culture and tidbits

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Nine-year-old bilingual (to-be-multilingual) has got a little hypothetical question.

Translation: If the ASL word YES moves up/down, then why doesn't the ASL word/sign NO move sideways?

This kid's thought wasn't the first time. There had been some people here and there who had the same wonder, including myself in my early life. It's a natural logic.

So, in case you might wonder why the ASL sign for NO is this way. Hypothetically, 1) It's the phonetic thing (nothing to do with sound but to do with the brain and its linguistic processing). The sign NO is more efficient this way than the shaking "S" handshape. It's a natural language thing.

Etymology: Did you know that this ASL sign, which looks very much a non-fingerspelled form itself, was actually lexicalized from two fingerspelled N and O? It was a loanword but nobody could thought of it as a loanword.

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