Do You Know Your Digibet?

We’ve created a video that explains the ASL digibet. In a nutshell:

– A digit represents a handshape.

– The ASL digibet collects 30 of the most commonly used handshapes.

– More digits are in the extended digibet, because they are either specialized in their usage and/or infrequently used. (This extended digibet may change over time.)

The digibet and the extended digibet are also available for download here.

Many thanks to Julia Dameron and Erik Call for their excellent work on the handshape photographs!

Preorders for How to Write American Sign Language will end this Friday, July 27.

Reserve your copy today and get 20% off!

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!

ASL Literature On Paper

John Lee Clark, a DeafBlind writer and poet, has posted a good essay on his blog about why written ASL literature is important.

“It’s not that we cannot enjoy ASL performances. Readings, videos, and theater are still important. But there’s something about the abstract, bare symbols on the page that invites our minds to engage, argue with, interrogate, and absorb the language before us. We cannot do these things as well when we are only spectators.”

Click here to read more…

Independence Day!

Today is Independence Day, the day we celebrate our nation’s freedom. Now the American Signing Community has another reason to celebrate: American Sign Language is now free from the shackles of English!

How to Write American Sign Language is part of a new beginning, one where we can finally record our native thoughts for posterity. Technology at its best is still hard-pressed to replace the faithful motions of our hands, so this book is specifically designed to provide the best writing surface for pen and pencil. It is built for a tactile experience.

Each chapter in this book has clear photographs and illustrations, along with ample practice space. It is a fantastic self-contained course for study at home, or for use in the classroom.

Preorders are now open at the Store. Order an individual book or packs of 5 to learn with your friends!

Happy Fourth of July!

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