ASL University ►

American Sign Language: "box"

The sign for "box" uses flat hands to show the sides and then bent hands to show the front and back of the box.  I tend to use my non-dominant hand as the outward side of the box and my dominant hand as the side nearest to my body, but it really isn't an issue. You could do it the other way. The point is to show the sides and then front and back of the box.


Note: The sign BOX can also be interpreted as "
ROOM."  While it is true that there is an initialized form of the sign ROOM that uses "R" handshapes, it is not necessary to initialize the sign when the meaning "of" room is clear from the context of the sentence.  For example, see BEDROOM.

Also see: ROOM

Also see: CUBBY
Also see: BLOCKS

Regarding "BOX": My input is that the sign BOX/ROOM does "not" use "B"-hands (the kind with the thumb folded over the palm) but rather the sign for BOX/ROOM starts with "FLAT"-hands which then bend at the large knuckles (which is very hard to do if you are using "B" hands with the thumbs crossed over the palms).
My further input on the sign BOX is that while some people indeed do the sign with "B" hands -- it is likely that this is an influence of Signed English and/or the tendency of "Hearing English Speakers" to want to initialize signs with the letter handshape of the associated English interpretation of the sign.



For the sign "room" -- can you show the front and back walls first and then the sides of the room?

Great question!
The sign for "room" can be and is signed either way:
1. sides then front/back
2. front/back then sides

I personally lean toward showing the sides first and the front/back second. I think that version just "feels" better and may have a slight edge in "published" curricula -- but both versions of "box" or "room" are so common that I would caution ASL teachers to not mark it wrong if a student does the back/front first and the sides second.

If someone wants to argue this and wants to bet money against either version I'll take the bet and stipulate that to win it I have to provide a dozen existing published video examples of Deaf or hard of hearing skilled signers doing the sign whichever way.

It would be a suckers bet since both versions are so common.

Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy DONATE (Thanks!)
(You don't need a PayPal account. Just look for the credit card logos and click continue.)

Another way to help is to buy something from the ASLU "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)   CHECK IT OUT >

Bandwidth slow?  Check out "" (a free mirror of less traffic, fast access)   VISIT >


You can learn sign language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™  ©  Dr. William Vicars