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ASL Expansion Techniques

ASL Expansion Techniques

Author: Chris Phelps
Description:

Expansion in ASL, also called contextualizing, refers to the amount of detail or information conveyed to clarify a topic. This discourse style of ASL uses frequent expansion techniques, and it’s this process, which makes American Sign Language visually dynamic. This course will explain each of the 7 expansion techniques of ASL.  You'll learn how they are most commonly used and learn how to incorporate them into your own use of ASL.

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Tutorial

7 ASL Expansion Techniques

There are 7 commonly used expansion techniques in ASL.  They are as follows:

  • Contrasting
  • Faceting
  • Reiteration
  • utilizing 3D space
  • explaining by examples
  • couching/nesting
  • describe-then do

Contrasting

Definition: Two contrasting ideas are juxtaposed to emphasize what is being asserted.

Example:

  • English:
    • Chris's wardrobe is austere.
  • ASL Gloss:
    • fs C-H-R-I-S DRESS PLAIN(nod). FANCY NOT.

More sentence examples here!

Even more!

Faceting

Definition:  One idea is expressed using a series of descriptive signs. 

Example:

  • English:
    • I am happy.
  • ASL Gloss
    • ME CHAMP HAPPY SATISFIED 

More Faceting here!

Reiteration

Definition:  A sign or phrase is repeated.  The repetition may be immediate or occur at the start and end of the sentence. 

Example:

  • English:
    • That movie was awful!
  • ASL Gloss:
    • AWFUL THAT MOVIE AWFUL

Learn more about reiteration here!

Using 3D Space

Definition:  Three dimensional space is critical in the description of events in ASL because signing takes place within this space. 

Example:  

  • English: 
    • Today I am going to work, then the grocery store, then school, and finally home. 
  • ASL Gloss:
    • TODAY ME DO WHAT? rs (far left) WORK rs (right) FOOD STORE rs (right) SCHOOL.  SCHOOL FINISH rs (right) PAH HOME.

Watch as Adrian shows us how to successfully use space.

Explaining By Examples

Definition: When a term or concept requires elaboration, examples can be used to explain the idea further.

Examples:

  • English: 
    • My silverware was stolen.
  • ASL Gloss:
    • MY fs S-I-L-V-E-R-W-A-R-E FORK KNIFE SPOON FINISH STEAL.

You'll notice Adrian also calls this technique Listing. That's okay too! Watch what he does here!

Couching/Nesting

Definition:  Background information is added to a concept to make it clear.

Example:

  • English:
    • Let's tour the brewery.
  • ASL Gloss:
    • fs B-R-E-W-E-R-Y KNOW FACTORY BEER MAKE THERE TWO-OF-US VISIT.

Adrain's Couching examples can be found here.

Describe-Then Do

Definition:  The action is first describes then acted out by role shifting to a first person perspective.

Example:

  • English:
    • Michelle passed out cold!
  • ASL Gloss:
    • fs M-I-C-H-E-L-L-E PASSED-OUT rs (become Michelle) CL-2 (as legs falling backward)

It's easier to see. What Adrian's example for a better understanding of this technique.

7 ASL Expansion Techniques

There are 7 commonly used ASL expansion techniques.  They are as follows:

  • Contrasting
  • Faceting
  • Reiteration
  • utilizing 3D space
  • explaining by examples
  • couching/nesting
  • describe-then do

Contrasting

Definition: Two contrasting ideas are juxtaposed to emphasized what is being asserted.

Example sentence:

  • ENGLISH: Chris's wardrobe is austere.
  • ASL GLOSS: fs C-H-R-I-S DRESS PLAIN (nod) / FANCY NOT

Examples of Contrasting in ASL