SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 49

Sign Language Structure Stokoe, Jr. signal first person singular than the sign “I”. A student to whom the figurative use of the word backlog was unfamiliar suddenly interrupted the explanation, signing in a split second: [B AA t) That is, ‘have’ and ‘behind’. But the head-eye dip beginning at the same time as the first sign indicated he was saying what might be translated as I have [something] behind; or I’m keeping [something] in reserve. Even with only these two signals, the ‘dip’ and the ‘query-look’, a beginning can be made in defining verbals in the language. Those signs which pattern with both appear to be verbal; those with the dip may be; those with the dip may be; those with the query-look may be, but are also likely to be query signs like ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘who’, which do not pattern with the dip. Another signal functioning on the syntactic level is the negative head shake. This movement is for the deaf as well as the hearing in our culture sufficient answer alone to some questions, and with other kinesic signals may range from a decisive denial or refusal to a confidential assent. But the head shake as a kinesic signal is a grosser movement than the movement which in a sign sentence signals negation. The sign X n , ‘should’ is also ‘should not’ when this minute head shake accompanies it. So small is this non-kinesic, syntactical head shake that the writer and his associates scanning and transcribing a filmed conversation missed it until the self contradiction of the informant’s utterance without a negative sent us back to look beyond the tab, dez, and sig signals. This shake, symbolized 3, patterns with many of the signs which the dip, symbolized 1, makes into first person singular verbals, but with 3 they become first person singular negative verbals. Some examples: The illogical but often heard ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea’, has a close equivalent in signs: × @ 3 uG B a B av × uI × ‘I don’t have it’, is but one sign with the negation signals: 3 [B t A signer asked, ‘How was the movie?’ might reply either: or: [ B × @1 3 [B ‘I enjoyed it.’ ‘I didn’t enjoy it.’ Here it will be noted that the sig of ‘enjoy’ also differs in the two replies. The change from rubbing the heart region with a small circular motion to approaching it and moving the hand sharply away two inches may be occasioned simply by physiology. Like patting the stomach and rubbing the head, the head shake and circular rubbing may be difficult for some persons to do. Or the change may be to shorten sig duration so the head shake will be seen. Or it maybe more symbolic; just as the sign G ^ G × , ‘to’, contrasts directionally with the sign G ^ X × : , ‘from’, so the sig of ‘not-enjoy’ SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 49