Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

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The Locations of Locatives

The concept of neutral space was explained in the last step, but what do we do when an ASL word connects with the body? Locative space makes it possible to anchor ASL words to parts of the body and still be understood.

There are two views in this category, frontal and profile. The locative marks within those views are also known as locatives.

anatomy Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Locative Marks


Frontal View

When an ASL word contacts the body and/or travels across it, the frontal view provides the base for their movements. Frontal locative marks signify the specific parts of the body.

frontallochart Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Frontal Locatives

Vertical marks are not needed, since the locatives establish orientation.

directionalshoulders Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Shoulder locative with directional movement lines.

Below are a few ASL words that utilize frontal locatives.

frontalexamples Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Examples of Frontal Locatives


Profile View

The profile view is unusual in that it is written from a third-person perspective. ASL words that fit this perspective best travel outward from the body, making it necessary to show their path from another view. The profile locative marks identify which area of the body the words are anchored to.

profilelochart Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Profile Locatives

As with frontal locative marks, vertical marks are not needed because orientation is automatically identified.

directionaltorso Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Torso locative with directional movement lines.

A few example ASL words that use profile locatives are written below.

profileexamples Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Three ASL words that use profile locatives.

Profile locatives can be flipped to fit handedness.

handedprofile Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Flipped profile locatives to show handedness.


Palm Orientation in Locative Space

Locative space is part of the four components of palm orientation in written ASL. The wise usage of frontal and profile locatives establish the orientation of a handshape. It can make a big difference in which ASL word is expressed.

locpalmorient Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

Examples of locatives helping with palm orientation.


Locatives in ASL Grammar

The ability of locatives to identify the body also serve as an important component of ASL grammar. When used that way, they fall under the category of extramanual marks. This will be explored further in the next chapter.


Practice

– Read and identify the following ASL words:

locativewords Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

– Complete the following ASL words with the correct locatives:

addlocative Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives

– Can you think of more ASL words that use locatives?


Next Step: Extramanual Marks


Answer Key:

answerkey Step Four: Body Location Through Locatives






Illustrations © 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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