Perhaps you wonder why different ASL teachers teach different signs
for the same concept. Or maybe you have noticed that there are
differences between the signs taught by your ASL teacher and the
signs used by your Deaf friend. You may have even noticed that some
of your Deaf friends sign differently from each other!
There are a number of reasons that could explain the differences
between what you learned from your Deaf friend and your ASL teacher
or what you learned from your first ASL teacher and your second ASL
1. Regional Variation: Signs vary from place to place.
2. Instructor incompetence: Perhaps whoever taught you didn't know
what they were doing.
3. Student Error: Perhaps whoever taught you knew what they were
doing but you misunderstood what you saw and thus you learned it
4. Poor Memory: Maybe you learned it right but are
remembering it wrong.
5. Multiple right versions: Some signs have multiple "right"
variations. I might be doing a variation of a sign that is
different from what you learned (even though both variations are
6. Different Language: You might have learned "Signed English"
or some variation of a manual communication system that is different
You might want to go look up certain signs in multiple ASL
dictionaries (the printed paper kind) and compare those signs with
what you see at Lifeprint.com. On the individual vocabulary
pages for individual signs I often list several variations or
versions so it is good to scroll down on the page to see what else I
may have written about such signs..
My lessons and information are fairly accurate (considering that I
have a doctorate in this stuff, am married to a Deaf woman, have
been teaching ASL for a quarter century (yah, I'm old), am h/Deaf
(which is a way of indicating that I'm hard of hearing, culturally
Deaf, and live in the Deaf world). But hey, if you see something on
"Lifeprint" that you are "sure" is wrong or in need of expanding,
feel free to dig up my email from my contact page and let me know
what it you feel needs fixing and I'll look into it right away.
Dr. Bill Vicars
You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars