COFFEE in sign language

ASL sign for COFFEE
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ASL sign for "coffee"

What is the sign for "coffee" in American Sign Language?

Definition: A drink made from the roasted and ground beanlike seeds of a tropical shrub, served hot.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant horizontal "S" hand or fist (handshape), palm in/leftward (orientation), the bottom part in contact with top of the non-dominant "S" hand (location), moves in horizontally circular motion clockwise while the non-dominant remains stationary (movement).

Learner tip: Don't confuse this production with MAKE. It's a common mistake for ASL beginners.

Vocabulary

Related signs: coffee bean. Coffee or TEA? STARBUCKS, SECOND CUP, TIM HORTONS.

Etymology

A possible origin of the ASL sign COFFEE by Lyn J. Wiley's personal theory: "the action of cranking the handle of an old-fashioned coffee grinder (which were used before the advent of commercially available ground coffee beans)." (via email, May 2015) She is not alone in this guess.

Deaf Culture

A Deaf-owned business couple runs a coffee shop, Bravo Caffè, for last five years in Taipei, Taiwan! -- Source: Seek the World, March 2020.

A number of Deaf baristas work in coffee shops around the world from Washington, D.C. to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Starbucks opened in 2016 where its staffers are Deaf and few hearing signers in the language of Malaysian Sign Language. Deaf baristas wear aprons with "Starbucks" embroidered in the manual alphabet across the front, which later inspires the similar aprons in the United States. Ref

Usage/Grammar

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Some word entries have one of some tidbits in this section, such as minimal pairs of sign words, rhymes, etc. usually related to or associated with its word entry.

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 COFFEE

ASL digit artistically written and contributed by Adrean Clark in the ASLwrite community, 2017.

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