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- The Two Categories of Extramanual Marks
- Eyebrow Marks
- Questioning Marks
- Mouth Morphemes
- Body Movements
Extramanual marks are divided in two categories, facial expressions and body movements. The first job of extramanual marks is to add meaning to an ASL word, and the second is to help with ASL grammar.
Facial expressions in ASL begin with the eyes — more specifically, the eyebrows. They are usually written at the top left of an ASL word.
They also serve as important ASL grammatical markers. One significant example is the raised eyebrow mark’s role in identifying the topic of a sentence by putting emphasis on a certain ASL word.
Two raised eyebrows at the beginning and the end of a sentence means that the sentence is a question.
The squint has two roles as well. It can serve as part of an ASL word that describes an object, or to indicate a slower pace in expressing any ASL word. Occasionally it may be written for emphasis.
The knit eyebrow mark has an expanded use as part of a library of “wh-questions.” This group of questioning marks exist because some regional ASL words that ask a question have the opposite meaning. Those marks are used in situations where clarity in the request is needed.
Using a raised eyebrow mark together with a knit eyebrow mark signifies that the question is rhetorical, as in the answer to the question will be given by the signer.
The mouth has a supporting role in giving meaning to many ASL words. The mouthing marks document specific mouth positions.
They can be combined with eyebrow marks at the top left of a word.
Locatives have another role in that they fill in for body movements. They are grammatical markers as well.
A unique mark within this category is the nose crinkle. In ASL it shows approval or adds meaning to an overall facial expression.
Eyebrow marks, mouthing marks, and the nose crinkle can be combined to create one expression.
Identify the following ASL extramanual marks:
Write the extramanual marks that correspond with the following English gloss:
Shoulder shift to the right
Wan eyebrows, puffed cheeks, when, head nod, and nose crinkle.
Illustrations © Adrean Clark.
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