ASL University |
In American Sign Language, you make a sign or a statement
These negative expressions do not require a separate
manual sign. They are used along with signs that have a negative connotation like "can't," or "refuse."
shaking your head
some people use the sign "not"
For example, to sign "I'm not happy," you would sign "I
HAPPY" while shaking your head negatively.
A student writes:
Dear Dr. Bill,
I have a question regarding the word "can" plus shaking of the
"no" to say cannot or can't vs. the sign for can't (point finger
right hand coming down on point finger of other hand). Are both
excepted? Or is one better than the other? Or am I even wrong to
you can sign the word can't/cannot by signing the sign for "can"
shaking the head no (left to right)?
sent from my iPhone!
To me, signing CAN-(negative_head-shake) feels "very" awkward
and at best might be used to mean "not able." Even for "not
able" I would tend to use the actual NOT sign prior to signing
CAN. Example: "HE/SHE NOT CAN WALK" = "He isn't able to WALK." I
wouldn't recommend that though. Instead I'd just suggest signing
"HE/SHE CAN'T WALK." Then if the other person said, "HESHE
LAZY!" at that point I might sign, "NO! HE/SHE NOT CAN
WALK! HIS/HER LEG BROKE!"
However the generally accepted sign for "can not" or "can't" is
the CAN'T sign (dominant hand index finger striking the tip of
the non-dominant hand index finger). The generally accepted sign
for "not-possible" is the IMPOSSIBLE sign (dominant "Y"-hand
striking the non-dominant hand palm twice).
- Dr. Bill
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