Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

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How To Capture Wrist Motion

Written ASL diacritics use special marks that suggest wrist movement and palm orientation, allowing readers to imagine the motions. There are five diacritics in written ASL: Hinge, Rotational, Rattle, Flutter, and Edge.

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The Five Written ASL Diacritics


Opening Doors – Hinge Diacritic

The name hinge diacritic suggests an opening and closing of the joint. That is exactly what happens in the hand when it moves from side to side or from front to back. It is written with an arc below the digit.

hinge2 Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Hinge Diacritic

hinge1move Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

hinge2move Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics Visual of the Hinge Diacritic

The specific motion indicated by a hinge diacritic depends on the context of the ASL word.


Moving In Circles – Rotational Diacritic

The secret to knowing when to write a rotational diacritic is to feel the bones in your forearm as you sign. If the bones swivel past each other, then the diacritic is written. The circular motion is a perfect fit for the small circle mark below the digit.

rotational2 Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Rotational Diacritic

rotationalmove Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Visual of the Rotational Diacritic


Shake and Rattle – Rattle Diacritic

Sometimes ASL handshapes have a quick “shaking” motion. The rattle diacritic shows this brief motion. It is also specific in its location.

rattle2 Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Rattle Diacritic

rattlemove Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Visual of the Rattle Diacritic

The above placement of the rattle diacritic indicates the quick movement of the full handshape. Placing a rattle diacritic near an area means that that location moves. The areas can be one finger, one thumb, a set of fingers, or the entire handshape (base of main stroke).


Fluttering Fingers – Flutter Diacritic

Sometimes fingers move in a “fluttering” motion. A series of curves are written above the fingers in the flutter diacritic.

flutter2 Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Flutter Diacritic

fluttermove Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Visual of the Flutter Diacritic


Standing on Edge – Edge Diacritic

Sometimes a handshape is turned onto its side so that the end of your palm faces outward. The edge diacritic helps discern your palm orientation in that particular situation. The line is written according to the surface that the digit “rests” on, whether it is upright or on its side facing outward.

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Edge Diacritic

edgemove Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

Visual of the Edge Diacritic


Practice

– What ASL words are written in the two examples below? (Scroll down for the answer.)

yes Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics
finish Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics

– Figure out how to write the following words using digits and diacritics only:

must
flirt
laundry
one hour

– How many more ASL words can you think of that uses only diacritics?

*****
Answer Key:

– Yes and Finish

answerkeydiacritics Step Two: Wrist Motion In ASL Diacritics


Next Step: Movement Marks






Moving handshape images © Adrean Clark.

The ASLwrite Community has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to the text and method of written ASL contained on this website and How We Write American Sign Language. In releasing copyright, we ask that written ASL be respected as the domain of the American Sign Language-speaking community and that it be given all the rights and privileges that written English enjoys.

This work is published from the United States.

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