13 Identifying Objects
The amount of information given in a description of an object depends on the situation. Learning how much and what kind of information to give in conversation or narrative is an important part of learning how to describe things in BSL. For example, when an object is visible, the signer might first ask the other person if s/he can see it, without giving extra details. Then:
a. If the person confirms s/he sees the object, the identification has been made and the signer can proceed with the conversation.
b. If the person requires more information, the signer should try to work out why. Are there other similar objects in the area? Is it difficult to notice against a similar background? Further description should be based on what makes the object distinguishable or different.
Reference to objects which are not present may require more description to identify them, but the signer follows the same pattern described above. Ask first if the person you are signing to knows the object; if s/he does not know the object, you should describe only what is needed to identify it.
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