ASLwrite supports the White House petition asking President Obama to recognize American Sign Language. We need 25,000 signatures by December 12. Please take a few minutes to visit the ASL for America website and sign the White House petition!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ASL word “Thanksgiving” has many variations. We’ve written 7 of them here.
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.
Which sign do you use for “Thanksgiving”? Feel free to share in the comments!
When learning a new language, sometimes we feel like a detective trying to solve the mystery of how a language works.
In written ASL, the digibet and locatives are the most commonly used marks. Knowing them will speed up your time in learning written ASL.
Now imagine you’re walking down the street, deep in ASL conversation with a friend. The two of you are moving at a distance between each other.
The signing space right in front of you is called neutral space. When you write, you write from your perspective as a signer. Many words stay within this space, but sometimes your handshapes bump your shoulder, chin, or other body part. When this happens, the body location distinguishes the meaning of your handshape. You have gone into locative space.
If you want to write down the ASL words that connect to your body, use special marks called locatives.
The movement lines in locative space do not follow your actual motions like in neutral space. They are written in the third-person perspective (also the perspective of your conversing friend).
Below are a few words that show how each mark is used.
(Note from Adrean: My special tool for digital writing broke, so for a few weeks I will be writing on note-lined paper. I have an “artistic” handwriting so if anything’s not clear, please do comment below or email me!)
Profile Locative Examples
Frontal Locative Examples
For in-depth information on movement space and locatives, check out How to Write American Sign Language!
What are some good or bad things about your experience moving between English and ASL? Feel free to comment below!
Hi, I’m Adrean Clark. A thought popped up today that I would like to share with you. You know when you watch different TV shows and movies, sometimes during the story two people don’t get along very well. Maybe they’re siblings… and to get them to solve their problems, they are handcuffed together. The two people are stuck, and forced to figure things out together. They have to discuss their issues and they do eventually become friends.
It came to mind that this “plot device” applies to writing. English and American Sign Language are “friends,” because they have to be. They are handcuffed together. ASL has no written version so English takes up that missing component. As a community, we’ve accepted that arrangement, because we haven’t experienced anything different. It has become part of our psyche. Things don’t need to be this way at all.
I’ll explain more:
Right now I’m learning Danish. I really enjoy learning about the culture and language. As part of my studies, I joined a website where I can type journal entries in Danish. My writing isn’t the best yet, so underneath my Danish entry I add the English version.
During the process I noticed that I tend to be very eager to write in Danish but not so eager to write in English. I feel like my levels of competency in Danish and English are battling each other; Not much progress is made in Danish because my mind is still attached to English, and in turn my English translation is chained to my Danish message. It’s frustrating.
When it comes to ASL and English, often I switch back and forth between the languages. Sometimes I can’t find the right ASL word, so I fall back on English. Other times I’m thinking of a great title for a fantastic project, the English name pops up first and then it’s a struggle to translate it to ASL. The two languages are handcuffed together.
I don’t like this at all. That’s why it’s important to have si5s writing – to cut the chain and let ASL breathe on its own. It’ll give us room to own ASL and absorb its full essence. English will then stay in its own boundaries. We need this.
So, I wanted to share this thought with you today. What do you all think? Let me know!
Curious about today’s Ask ASLwrite? Here’s what we discussed!
Q: How do you sign “blunt”?
Q: How do you show facial expressions that change the meaning of words?
Q: How do you show where a sign starts, and what do you do with some words where the direction is interchangeable?
A: For interchangeable signs like “deaf” or “home,” you can put the digits in between the contact points. In other signs where the beginning point is standard, the digit is written there. It is like when reading a map — you don’t start at the end of the directional arrows, you start at the beginning of the line.
Q: What about when your body moves while signing?
A: Use the locatives, at the focal point of the movement. If you’re going with expressions only without any signed words, see the example.
Q: Which perspective do we write from?
A: We write from our perspective as a signer, except in some words where the signs go outward from the body.
Q: How do you write the ASL word, “here”? What about “encourage” in comparison?
Q: How do we show the pace of signs in ASL? Slow vs. fast?
A: We are still figuring out the details, but here is what we can do for “slow” and “fast.” The squint indicates a slow pace and the firmpoint can indicate speed. Facial expressions are helpful, too.
In today’s session Guara Boisevert made an excellent suggestion on new indicators for several words related to gender. This is what he proposed:
Adrean’s note: All look great. Male and Female are already potential indicators, and Man and Woman can work without the contact point at beginning. We’ll see if the community picks it up!
Join us next Monday, November 12th for more! (We’ll be sending out the link via Twitter and Facebook, but you can sign up here to be notified by email.)
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