Free ASL Holiday Cards

Are you frantically searching for the right holiday card that incorporates American Sign Language? Look no further – we have two free designs that you can print out and mail today!

"A Holiday Wish" 2-sided card

“A Holiday Wish” 2-sided card

"Happy New Year 2013" card

“Happy New Year 2013” card

Have a special ASL holiday card design you’d like to see? Let us know!

Special thanks to Bethany Gehman for layout work!

ASL for America

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!

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!

Solving the Mystery of Locatives

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.

Anatomy of ASL Locatives

The above picture is an “anatomy chart” for written ASL. Please do feel free to click and print it out!

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

Hello in written ASL

“Hello” uses the Face and Forehead to Nose locatives.

"Kid" in Written ASL

The ASL word “kid” can easily be written with the Nose locative.

"Will" in written ASL

“Will” or “shall” is a great example of how locatives can completely change the meaning of a digit. The face and nose-to-chin locatives are written here.

"Put it in Back of Mind" in Written ASL

If you have an idea that you’d like to store for a while, use the Back of Head locative. It’s also the “home” of your subconscious.

"Feel" in Written ASL

“Feel” makes contact with the Torso locative. Notice how the size can expand or contract depending on what you are comfortable with.

"Arrow to Knee" in Written ASL

If you have a war story, then describe taking an arrow with the Knee locative. (A little something for Skyrim fans. :) )

Frontal Locative Examples

"President" in Written ASL

“President” makes use of the Forehead frontal locative.

"Dry" in Written ASL

The Chin locative works great with “dry.”

"Stuck" in Written ASL

“Stuck” is written with the Neck locative.

"Our" in Written ASL

Written ASL belongs to “our” community! Use the Shoulders locative to fill in the word. (It can be split into half if the sign only contacts one side.)

"Time" in Written ASL

The Arm/Wrist locative helps establish the word “time.”

"Long Shirt" in Written ASL

Wearing a shirt that’s too long at the torso? Describe it using the Waist locative.

For in-depth information on movement space and locatives, check out How to Write American Sign Language!

ASL & English Handcuffed

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!

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