ASL University ►


American Sign Language:  "which"


WHICH: 
Alternate holding up one "A" hand, and then the other.



Signing Notes:

Hermisaurus asks:
Question
"When asking a question " Do you want milk, juice?" Instead of a body shift to show "or," could you ask "which one"? I've seen "Do you want red or green, which one? " Is that correct?"

Answer
Just as there are multiple "right" ways to ask a question in English, there are likewise multiple right ways to ask a question in ASL.  

Your signing choices depend on whether you wish to be succinct or verbose. 
Succinct = brief and clear. 
Verbose = "using more words (or signs) than are needed."

If we sign: "YOU WANT MILK OR-[bodyshift] JUICE?" the bodyshift can be very small and start half-way through your sign for milk and end half way through your sign for juice -- thus taking up almost no time at all. When we add "furrowed eyebrows" near the end of the sentence the furrowed eyebrows convey the meaning of "which."  

You can choose to sign in a succinct manner by
not adding the sign "WHICH" since you have already expressed the concept of "which" via your furrowed eyebrows.   You can choose to sign in a verbose manner by adding the signs "WHICH ONE" at the end of your sentence -- but you should still furrow your eyebrows since you are asking a "WH"-type question.

If you sign the question with raised eyebrows while signing both the sign MILK and the sign JUICE you are in effect asking two questions -- both of which are yes/no-type questions:
 
Do you want milk?
Do you want juice?

If you use a yes/no-question approach it puts responsibility on your conversation partner to respond by signing one of the two options (or using the sign "BOTH" if he/she is a pig).

;-)

- Dr. Bill
 

Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy DONATE (Thanks!)
(You don't need a PayPal account. Just look for the credit card logos and click continue.)

Another way to help is to buy Dr. Bill's "Superdisk."


Dr. Bill's new iPhone "Fingerspelling Practice" app is now available!   CHECK IT OUT >


Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)   CHECK IT OUT >


Bandwidth slow?  Check out "ASLUniversity.com" (a free mirror of Lifeprint.com less traffic, fast access)   VISIT >

 


You can learn sign language online at American Sign Language (ASL) University  
Sign language lessons and resources.  Dr. William Vicars Lifeprint.com

back.gif (1674 bytes)