Archive of ‘Words’ category

How Do We “Juggle” in Written ASL?

Digikat juggling with written ASL for "juggle" in background

Do you know how to juggle in written ASL?

Don’t worry, anyone can do it! First, let’s gather all the ingredients:

Space + Digits + Movement Lines

Space outlineplusDigitsplusmovementmarks

How do the three ingredients come together? Easy! There’s only three steps in the directions:

1) Space

Go ahead and express the ASL word, “juggle!” Where are you signing? Do your hands contact your body? Your hands should be in the neutral space right in front of you, so we begin to write from our perspective as writers. This step is not actually written — it’s kept in your mind.

Space outline

2) Digits

Since our handshapes change during “juggle,” we need to write the first and last handshapes. The digits are shown below.

Digits for Juggling ASL word

3) Movement Marks

Here’s the secret sauce to this recipe! “Juggle” is a two-handed word, with alternating movements. We use the alternating mark on motion lines to show the turn-taking of our hands. Vertical marks demonstrate the up-and-down direction. Finally, endpoints tell us how many times the movements are done.

Juggling ASL word

Then bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes — no, we’re kidding! Go ahead and enjoy writing “juggle” right away!

ASL transcription of "Juggle" post

Click text to read at full size!

7 Ways to Write “Thanksgiving”

Here at ASLwrite we want to thank our readers for their enthusiasm and positive energy in writing ASL. We appreciate having the privilege of signing and want to continue supporting American Sign Language through writing. If there’s anything we can do to encourage you as you learn, please do email Adrean at

The ASL word “Thanksgiving” has many variations. We’ve written 7 of them here.

Thanksgiving in Written ASL

(Click for larger image.)

Some of them have the “G/Q” handshape (written digit) that denotes a turkey’s wattle — and others focus on showing gratitude.

To wish someone a “Happy Thanksgiving” – check out the banner below.

Happy Thanksgiving Written ASL banner

Which sign do you use for “Thanksgiving”? Feel free to share in the comments!

Reader Requests: Happy Halloween and “Tru Biz”

This week we’re introducing a new feature — Reader Requests. There may be some words that are a little tricky to write out, or readers are curious what a particular ASL word looks like. They will also appear in the Writing Dictionary.

Happy Halloween

With a little holiday color, let’s see how we can wish someone a “Happy Halloween”:

Happy Halloween

To see the “halloween” sign in ASL, click here.

The regional sign for “Halloween” in Minnesota is different. The handshape is the same one used for the ASL word “kid,” and edge diacritics show that the handshapes are held with the pinky finger outwards from the face.

Happy Halloween Minnesota Style

Minnesota Style!

Requested by Heather Golob on our Facebook page.

Tru Biz

This ASL word has often been described as untranslatable from English. It’s glossed as “tru biz” or as John Maucere puts it in his show – “tubis.” The gist of its meaning in English is “actually, literally.”

tru biz in written ASL

Most common usage of “tru biz”

Of course, ridiculous situations sometimes require a little extra oomph:

Tru biz in written ASL with a flourish

“Tru biz” with a flourish.

Requested by Engage by Eview on Twitter.

Are there words that you’d like to see in a future Reader Requests? Let us know below!

5 (More) Easy ASL Words to Write Today

Are you finished with your original 5 words, and still chomping at the bit to write more? Take a step up with the following 5 written ASL words!

How in written ASL with illustration
“How” is an extramanual mark, so it’s a little different from the other words.

Write in written ASL with illustration
Combine “How” and “Write” together and you have a great question to help you get more ASL words to write! Use the fingerspelling chart to complete the question.

Friend in written ASL with illustration
“Friend” is a combination of 2 digits, recognizable and easy to write.

Kissfist in written ASL with illustration
Love what you’re writing so far? “Kiss-fist” it!

Pah in written ASL with illustration
Write “Pah” to show your success and joy!

What words would you like to see animated? Let us know below!

Want to learn more about written ASL? Check out How to Write American Sign Language!

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