forefinger and index finger

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Aug 29 16:10:03 UTC 2012

The first line of a story that a deaf preschooler has been told to
change his Signing Exact English name because "it violates a rule
that forbids anything in the school that looks like a weapon":

"Three-and-a-half  year old Hunter Spanjer, who is deaf, signs his
name by crossing his forefinger and index finger and moving his hand
up and down."

Huh?  I don't mean to make fun of a serious issue, but either this
child is seriously double-jointed or the writer doesn't know his ...
forefinger from his index finger.

The article also says "To his family, friends and those who know the
Signing Exact English (S.E.E.) language that the Grand Island, Neb.,
boy uses, that gesture uniquely means 'Hunter Spanjer.'
"  Really?  How does it denote "Spanjer"?  (I suspect all it means is


The American Dialect Society -

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