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ASL: Lesson 3:

Lesson Objectives:
___  I understand the importance of
Facial Expressions
___  I know what the acronym NMM stands for.
___  I am able to recognize and sign
numbers 11-20
___  I am able to define "
___  I am able to establish tense
___  I can name four sign
___  I can define the word
___  I explain how ASL deals with "ing, s, and ed" suffixes
___  I understand that ASL has its own syntax
___  I understand [Negation: not, don't, reversal of orientation]
___  I have taken the Lesson 3 Quiz
___  I have taken the general practice quiz for this lesson.  See: PRACTICE QUIZZES
___  I am done with Lesson 3


ALL-[#ALL, whole]
ASK-[ask-to, inquire, request]

BATHROOM-[toilet, restroom]
GO-[go-there, go-to]
GOOD-[better, best]

HOUSE [Also see: CITY]
NEED-[must, have-to, should, ought-to]
THINK-[brain, mind, think-about, wonder]
[Negation: not, don't, reversal of orientation]

Review:  LIKE-[L01]

Practice sheet 3.A
01. ASK-to-[that-person] NAME. (Ask that person for their name.) [L3]
02. YOU LIVE what-CITY? (What city do you live in?) [L3]
03. YOU LIKE LEARN SIGN? (Do you like learning sign?) [L3]
04. YOUR HOUSE BIG? (Is your house big?) [L3]
05. CHILDREN, HOW-MANY YOU? (How many children do you have?) [L3]

Practice Sheet 3.B
06. YOUR HOUSE, BATHROOM? HOW MANY  (How many bathrooms do you have in your house?) [L3]
07. YOU WORK WHERE? (Where do you work?) [L3]
08. YOU LIKE YOUR WORK? (Do you like your work?) [L3]
09. YOU THINK I SIGN GOOD? (Do you think I sign well?) [L3]
10. A-L-L how-SIGN? (How do you sign all?) [L3]

Practice Sheet 3.C
11. INDEX-[that-person] WHO? (
Who is he/she?) [L3]
12. FROM WHERE YOU? (Where are you from?) [L3]
Do you live here?) [L3]
14. FAMILY DEAF? (Is anyone in your family deaf?) [L3]
Is your house small?) [L3]

Practice Sheet 3.D
16. WANT MORE CHILDREN YOU? (Do you want more children?)
17. YOU GO SCHOOL YOU? (Do you go to school?)
18. YOU NEED BATHROOM? (Do you need to go to the bathroom?)
19. YOU THINK I SIGN BAD? (Do you think I sign bad?)
20. F-I-N-E how-SIGN? (How do you sign the word 'fine'?)


Additional practice sentences and examples of sign variations:

Do you think I sign bad? (qm-wiggle: question mark wiggle)
Is your house huge? (cha)
What is the name of the city in which you live?
Where are you from?
Do you go to school? (version)
Who is he/she? (version)
Where are you from? (version)
Do you like learning sign language?
Do you have any Deaf family members?
What city do you live in?
Is anyone in your family deaf?
What city do you live in?

Story 3

WHY-[rhetorical]? TEACHER THEY BAD.

See video:  STORY 3

<<A student writes:  Around 0:13 you fingerspell R-I-V-E-R-D-A-L-E then immediately do something I can't make out. It looks like you make an R with your hand and move it sideways & down while looking to the side. Is this a name sign for the city?  Later at about 0:37 you make the same R-gesture to refer to Riverdale. I can't tell if it's some kind of indexing I haven't come across before, or something else. Is this something I should expect to see more of as I gradually build up enough skill to converse with some of my new Deaf friends? >>

ANSWER:  Yes, that sign you are seeing with the "R"-handshape is indeed referring to the city of Riverdale.  It is the "name sign" for Riverdale city. (And quite a few other cities I'm sure.)  While there are many different name signs for various cities -- one of the more common themes is to trace a "7" in the air using the initial of the city.  Do not assume that applies to any particular city though. Ask the local Deaf natives what they use.  Here in Sacramento we just spell "SAC."  Back in Brigham City we spelled BC (which happens to also mean "birth control" ...hmmm).

The signs: FAMILY / CLASS / GROUP / and TEAM are all initialized versions of the CLUSTER-[general-group-of / category] sign

"YOU FROM-[where]?" is used to ask where you are originally from.  If you want to know where someone currently lives you could sign "YOU LIVE CITY-[what]?


Topic: "Facial Expressions"

Changing your facial expression; tilting, shaking, or nodding your head; and hunching your shoulders are all "nonmanual markers."  The term "nonmanual marker" means a signal that you do without using your hands that influences (marks) the meaning of what you are signing.  Think of NMMs as "signs that you do without using your hands."

Topic: "grammar"

The grammar of American Sign Language can generally be thought of as following a "TOPIC" "COMMENT" arrangement.

This is could also called "subject" + "predicate" sentence structure. 
(A predicate is a word, sign, or phrase that "says something" about the subject.) 

For example, in the English sentence, "Sarah is sleepy."  Sarah is the topic or subject.  The comment or predicate consists of "is sleepy."  ASL doesn't use "be verbs" (state of being verbs) so the sentence can be signed as "SARAH SLEEPY" while nodding your head.

If you need to adjust the tense of your sentence it is best to establish your time frame up front:  TIME" + "TOPIC" + "COMMENT."  That allows us to avoid needing to conjugate ASL verbs.  ("Conjugate" is just a big word for "create a different form.  For example "wash" becomes "washed" or "run" becomes "ran.")  ASL doesn't need to change its verbs to show tense since if the time frame is not the present we state that at the beginning of our sentence.

For example:

Which of those versions we choose to sign depends (largely) on two things: 
1.  What signer wishes to emphasize.
2.  What sort of information the signer and the audience already share. 

Anyone who tells you that ASL can't use a "subject" + "verb" + "object" sentence structure is simply denying reality.  ASL uses SVO quite often. 

What ASL doesn't use is "subject" + "be-verb" + "object."  For example, in ASL you wouldn't sign the "is" in "HE IS MY BROTHER."  You'd simply sign "HE MY BROTHER" while nodding your head.  Instead of signing "IS" you nod your head. 

The concept of "is" didn't "disappear" it simply took a "non-manual" form.  We say that ASL doesn't use "be verbs." It would perhaps be more accurate to say that ASL indicates "states of being" differently than English. 

The concepts of "being" and "existing: are still conveyed--but we do it without specific signs for specific "be verbs."  We use other methods such as context, nodding our heads, or signs such as "THERE," "HAVE," and "TRUE" (among others).

"I am a teacher," can be signed:


also, "I am from Utah," can be signed:

All of the above examples are "correct." You could sign any of those sentences and still be signing ASL.  The "correct" version can be though of as being the version works for the greatest number of signers. (The version that succeeds in allowing two or more people to communicate.)   I've lived in Utah, California, Indiana, Washington D.C., Texas, and Oregon, plus I've visited quite a few other places. It has been my experience during my various travels that "I STUDENT" and "I FROM UTAH" work just fine and are less confusing than "STUDENT I" and "FROM UTAH I."

If you wanted to ask someone "Where are you from?" -- many ASL teachers will tell you to sign it as: "YOU FROM WHERE?"  The reason for this is because when you sign "WH" type questions you generally should furrow your eyebrows.  By putting the "WH" word / sign (such as "WHERE") at the end you can reduce the amount of time you have to furrow your eyebrows.  (In other words, putting "WH"-type question signs at the end of the sentence is more efficient since you don't have to furrow your brows the whole sentence. 

However, when meeting a Deaf person in real life you are likely to see "Where are you from?" signed as: "YOU FROM?"-(with the eyebrows furrowed when you sign FROM -- thus causing the sign FROM to mean ".where from?").

We can write this as:  "YOU FROM-[where]?" 

I lowercase the word "where" as my way of indicating that the concept of "where" doesn't have to use a separate sign but rather is incorporated into the FROM sign by furrowing the eyebrows. 

Thus:  FROM + [furrowed eyebrows] = "Where from?"

Student:  "So, Dr. Bill, are you telling me that furrowed eyebrows means WHERE?"
Dr. Bill:  "I'm telling you that in context furrowing your eyebrows can turn certain other signs into 'WH'-type questions such as who, what, when, where, why, how, how many, etc."  For example, if you do the sign NAME with furrowed eyebrows you create the meaning of "What is the name of?"

The sign for "What is the name of...?" can thus be signed with one sign while furrowing the eyebrows.  We could type that as: NAME-[what]? 

As far as a sentence without "be" verbs, the English sentence "I am a teacher" can be signed as:

I TEACHER-[nod].
[context] TEACHER I-[nod]

The second version (I TEACHER I-[nod]) can be thought of as meaning: 
"I teacher, I am."

Students sometimes read: "I TEACHER I" -- and think that it means you are simply copying the sign "I/ME" at the end of the sentence.  Really though the sign at the end is more about the nod than pronoun.  It isn't just the "I/ME" sign repeated but rather it is a "nod" that is important. 

To be more obvious we could write:  "I/ME-[nod]" which means "I am."

So instead of writing "I TEACHER I" we could be more clear by writing:
 I TEACHER I-[nod]

Remember, the pronoun reproduced at the end of the sentence isn't about emphasizing the subject again but rather the copied pronoun is about creating the concept of "am."   It is a replacement for the be verb "am."

Signed sentences (in real life) take place in context.  If someone asks YOU what YOU do for a living you don't need to start your sentence with "I/ME."  Your conversation partner already supplied that part of your sentence for you.  Thus we can think of your sentence as being:

"[context = "I"] TEACHER I-[nod]" which would actually be more signing than you need to do since your conversation partner established so much context you could sign even less:

Signer A:  YOU DO-[what]?
Signer B:  TEACHER.

In real life with context you don't need to sign "I/ME TEACHER I/ME-[nod]" when simply signing "TEACHER" or even just "TEACH" will convey your message accurately and efficiently. 

That being the case, the "real life" grammar of ASL could be thought of as:

[context] + [minimum number of signs to accurately and efficiently convey your message.]

Topic:  "directionality" (verb agreement)

Dr. Bill:  Suppose I index BOB on my right and FRED on my left. Then I sign "GIVE-TO" from near my body to the place where I indexed Bob. That means, "I give to Bob."

If I sign GIVE TO starting the movement from the place off to the right and move it to the left it means Bob gave to Fred. If I sign starting from off to the left and bring the sign GIVE TO toward my body what would it mean?

Sandy: "Fred give to me?"

Dr. Bill: Right.

[For more info, see:  Directionality]

Topic:  "Tense"

Sandy: How do you establish tense at that point?

Dr Bill: Tense would be established before signing the rest of the sentence. I would say, "YESTERDAY ME-GIVE-TO B-0-B" The fingerspelling of BOB would be immediately after the ME-GIVE-TO and I would spell B-O-B slightly more to the right than normal. That way I
wouldn't need to point to Bob. However there are three or four other acceptable ways to sign the above sentence. You could establish Bob then indicate that yesterday you gave it to him, etc.

Lii: Can tense be done at end of sentence, or is that confusing?

Dr Bill: That is confusing--I don't recommend it. I can however give you an example of "appropriately" using a time sign at the end of a sentence. Suppose I'm talking with a friend about a problem that occurred yesterday and I sign: TRY FIND-OUT WHAT-HAPPEN YESTERDAY.

Dr Bill: That sentence talks about a situation that happened before now, but the current conversation is happening now. Some people might try to put the sign "YESTERDAY" at the beginning of that sentence, but I wouldn't--it feels awkward.

Topic:  "Suffixes"

Lii: How does one go about using ing, s, and ed endings ? Does it need to be done?

Dr Bill: Good question Lii...

Sandy: Similar question - how do we use punctuation--other than emphasis with the face? Just pause? 

Dr Bill: Again a good question. Okay then, let me go ahead and answer both questions briefly here, then we'll hear comments from those of you who have them.

Dr Bill: "s" is a pluralization topic. You can pluralize any particular concept in a number of ways. So far in our lessons we have been using a sweeping motion, (To turn the word "HE" into the word "THEY"). "ed" is established by using a "tense marker" like PAST or is understood by
context. For example if I know you are talking about a trip you went on last week, You don't need to keep signing "PAST," I would understand it was past tense. You could sign "TRUE GOOD" and I would know you meant the trip went really well.

Dr Bill: Now, punctuation. You are right, you punctuate a sentence via your pauses and facial expressions.

Dr Bill: "ing, ed, and other suffixes are not used in ASL. If I want to change "learn" into "learning" I simply sign it twice to show it is a process. Many times the "ing" is implied. For example, "YESTERDAY I RUN" would be interpreted as "Yesterday I went for a run," or you could interpret it as, "Yesterday I went running." How you interpret it would depend on the rest of the message (context).  If you want to sign dying as opposed to "die" or "dead" you would do the sign slower (more drawn out) and not quite "finish" the sign before moving on to the next sign in your sentence.

Topic: "Politically correct vs. Culturally correct"

Near the end of the twentieth century,  the hearing political community pushed the idea that it was "politically correct" to call Deaf and hard of hearing people "hearing impaired." So for quite a while the general public worked hard at using the label "hearing impaired" as a way of referring to Deaf people.

This label was rejected by Deaf people. The Deaf community (a social and cultural community) prefer to be called Deaf. The term Deaf is socially and culturally correct even if certain politicians persist in calling Deaf people hearing impaired.  Political correctness changes over time.  What is politically correct in one community may be incorrect in another community. Politicians who are "in the know" now use the term "Deaf." For more information see my terminology discussion.

  ► Numbers 11-20

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