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.
Filter word: Enter a keyword in the search box to see a list of available words with the "All" selection. Click on the page number if needed. Click on the blue link to look up the word.
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Alphabetical letters: It's useful for 1) a single-letter word (such as A, B, etc.) and 2) very short words (e.g. "to", "he", etc.) to narrow down the words and pages in the list.
For best result, enter a short word in the search box, then select the alphetical letter (and page number if needed), and click on the blue link.
Don't forget to click "All" back when you search another word with a different initial letter.
If you cannot find (perhaps overlook) a word but you can still see a list of links, then keep looking until the links disappear! Practice your alphabetical index skill or eye-sharpening. :)
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 (only if a single link doesn't show in the result).
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 way down to the next search box is highly recommended.
Grammar: ASL has its own grammar and structure in sentences that works differently from English. For plurals, verb inflections, word order, etc., learn grammar in the "ASL Learn" section. For searching signed words in the dictionary, use the present-time verbs and base words. If you look for "said", look up the word "say". 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. If you look for a plural word, use a singular word.
Variation: Some ASL signs have regional (and generational) variations across North America. Some common variations are included as much as possible, but for specifically local variations, interact with your local community to learn their local 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. Some entries have sentence examples.
Contextual meaning: Some 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 language interactions and conversations with Deaf/Ameslan people (or ASLians).