Archive of ‘Tips’ category

Quick and Easy Written ASL Emails

One of the amazing things about recent technology like the iPad is how quick and easy written ASL emails can be done. For many years, we’ve struggled with fitting our language to English, resorting to video and scanned sketches. The wealth of the iPod and iPad means we can choose any drawing app to write and send our messages.

Simply write, then select the “Send” menu icon:

Wacom Bamboo Paper screen capture

Wacom Bamboo Paper – Send options

Some apps also enable sharing to Twitter and Facebook:

Handwriting by Cocoabox share screen

Handwriting by Cocoabox app share screen

Here are the apps that we use most frequently:

Wacom Bamboo Paper – Free – Companion to the great Bamboo stylus. The orange one is our favorite!

Jotter – $.99 – A quick, inexpensive app for “jotting” down your thoughts.

Penultimate – $1.29 – Cocoabox’s original Handwriting app is great if you already downloaded it, but Penultimate has more options.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro – $1.99 – A comprehensive drawing app with the greatest flexibility in writing and sharing. (Options for sharing include Flickr and Dropbox.)

Did we miss something you love? Any Android apps you would recommend? Comment and let us know!

Getting Started On How to Write ASL

HWASL Books Congratulations, you’ve received your very own copy of How to Write American Sign Language and you’re eager to write now! Here are a few tips on getting started:

Look through the pictures

How to Write American Sign Language is full of illustrations and writing. Look at the first few pages of each chapter to get an idea of the contents.

Play games with the digibet

The digibet is the key to deciphering written ASL. Once you’ve memorized them, it is easier to figure out what sign is written on the page. Some ideas for memorizing the digibet: Create a digibet story using the handshapes, give each digit a personality (add whiskers and a tail to them, even!), print out the digibet and stick them on your fridge.

Take each chapter one at a time

Each chapter in How to Write American Sign Language has 5 pages of blank paper for you to write in. Be patient as you work on the principles in each chapter and practice writing the words. In time it comes naturally.

Find a writing buddy

This is very important, especially if you want to accelerate your fluency. Find a friend to write back and forth with — can be in-person or online! For emails, a quick way to write is to use a tablet like the iPad and a drawing app. The ASLwrite Writing Group is also a good place to post your work for feedback.

Remember your purpose for writing!

What made you order How to Write American Sign Language in the first place? Is it a desire to be fluent in ASL, a wish to preserve our cultural heritage? Hold that spark in your heart while you grow as a writer!

The Best ASL Writing Paper

“Do I need to use special paper to write in ASL?”

The answer may be surprising — almost any type of paper can be used for written ASL!

Anything off the shelf at your favorite stationery store works. (In fact, the author of our latest book has a weakness for unique journals and ink pens!)

If you need a little guidance, a common ruled spiral notebook will work very well for your written thoughts. Here’s a quick example:

Notebook lined paper

2- and 1- lined ASL writing in a spiral notebook.

Beginning writers might need 2 lines to start with, and more experienced writers can condense to one line. For double-spaced essays and manuscripts, simply ease your pain by skipping a line in between, like what is usually done in written English.

Writers with discerning taste can check out our free wide-ruled and college-ruled ASL writing paper templates at the Resources page. Those templates provide ample room, and if you prefer to pack in your thoughts on single lines, fantastic! The guide keeps you on track.

Simply download and print them out to start writing:

ASL writing in special paper

2- and 1- lined ASL writing on our custom paper.

The above example is the same wide-ruled design that appears in How to Write American Sign Language. If you enjoy this template, send us an email and let us know — we may even produce a custom journal if there is enough demand!

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