I’ve mentioned compound signs in a previous post but I’ve studied them recently on my BSL course so I thought I’d go into a little more detail. A compound sign is one that is created by combining two (or more) other signs. For example, the sign for ‘believe’ is a combination of the signs for ‘think’ and ‘true’. Note that the lip pattern you use when a compound sign is the sign itself (e.g. ‘believe’) and not the words for the individual component signs (e.g. ‘think’ and ‘true’).
In general this make it easier to remember a few signs as they are made up of logical component signs but it can get a little confusing in some situations. An example that I always forget are the signs for ‘lifeguard’ and ‘lifeboat’. The ‘lifeguard’ sign is made up of the signs for ‘life’ then ‘rescue’, whereas the sign for ‘lifeboat’ is made up of the signs ‘rescue’ then ‘boat’.
A few other common examples are:
- Deadline – date + cut-off
- Stranger – person + who?
- Answer – ask + response
- Repeat – say + again