Meaning: To expel air from the lungs suddenly with a harsh noise, often involuntarily.
Context: "My live performance 'Ameslan, coughing English, Ameslan', originally took place in a graduate class at NSCAD University in September 2005. I performed in the recessed niche of a white wall (representing a white paper) in black attire (representing text)."
"The first, introductory part of this performance was a poetic text in Ameslan. In the second part, the performance turned into signed English, which led to a choppy monotony before I began to cough and broke into the third part in Ameslan."
Artist Statement: "This performance is an analog to what Alan Watts describes the following: 'Alphabetic writing is a representation of sound, whereas the [Chinese] ideogram represents vision and, furthermore, represents the world directly.' Watts believed that it would be a disaster to 'rationalize' Chinese by introducing the phonetic alphabet to Chinese speakers/writers. Likewise, oppressing Deaf Ameslan children into using Sign English or Sign Exact English (SEE) would be as absurd as coercing Chinese people into writing Chinese characters in English grammar, as illustrated in the the middle part of my performance. It is more realistic for Deaf Ameslan children to be naturally bilingual, learning both English and Ameslan/ASL."
"Deaf children, who are taught Signed English, nevertheless would inevitably shift into its grammar, as illustrated in the coughing part of my performance. Elissa Newport and Sam Supalla, in their research studies describe that, 'children construct grammatically perfect ASL even when they are exposed (as they so often are) to somewhat less than - perfect ASL - a clear illustration of an innate grammatical competence in the brain.'" (Sacks p 111) -- excerpted from Jolanta Lapiak's thesis statement.
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Add a Word: This dictionary is not exhaustive; ASL signs are constantly added to the dictionary. If you don't find a word/sign, you can send your request via the orange feedback box.
A number of some "Add a Word" words are sometimes received that are *already* available in the dictonary. Users sometimes overlook the words. Double check, check page numbers, check spelling. If a word is requested that is already in the dictonary, explain a meaning (e.g. "as in").
Use the present verbs and base words. If you look for "said", look up the word "say". ASL has its own present/future/past structure in sentences. Likewise, if you look for an adjective word, try the noun or vice versa. E.g. The ASL signs for French and France are the same.
Videos: The first video may be NOT the answer you're looking for. There are several signs for different meanings, contexts, and/or variations. Browsing all the down to the next search box is highly recommended.
Regional variation: Some ASL signs have regional variations across North America. Common variations are included, but specifically local variations are not included. Interact with your local community to learn their variations.
Inflection: Many ASL words, especially verbs, in the dictionary are a "base"; be aware that many of them are grammatically inflectable within ASL sentences.
Contextual meaning: These ASL signs in the dictionary may not mean the same in different contexts and/or ASL sentences. You will see some examples in video sentences.
ASL is very much alive and indefinitely constructable as any spoken language. The best way to use ASL right is to immerse in daily interaction with Ameslan people (ASLers or ASLians).