Directional Verbs

AKA Inflecting Verbs or Indicating Verbs.

 What is a directional verb?

  • A directional verb is a sign that includes the subject, verb and object in one movement.

  • A directional verb allows the signer to change the subject and object by changing the direction of the verb.

  • Plural and singular subjects and objects can also be indicated by directional verbs.

  • Example the sign for "HELP" As you can see in the link, the sign is moving up, now if you had moved the sign forward, that would have meant "I HELP YOU" or "HELP YOU". If you had started the sign forward and brought it towards you, that would have meant "YOU HELP ME" or "HELP ME". Now, when you add facial expressions, example eyebrows raised, your sign will now show "CAN I HELP YOU?" or "CAN YOU HELP ME?", respectively". 

  • Examples of verbs that can be directional verbs: "HELP", "SHOW", "PAY", "BRING", "CALL", "GIVE", "SEND", "TELL", "ASK", "ANSWER" or the verb "FAX".

  • Not all verbs can be directional verbs, a few example of verbs that cannot be directional verbs: "KNOW", "REMEMBER", "DREAM", "HAVE", "DRINK" or "SLEEP".

In South African Sign Language this is probably the one time it might appear that you are using Subject Verb Object or Object Verb Subject.