Handshape: "H" handshape on both hands.
Movement: Tends to be a double movement (but a single movement is also common).
Non-Manual Marker: In general this uses a neutral facial expression. In the sentence
"What is your name?" signed as NAME YOU? (Wh-question expression) you
furrow the eyebrows and tilt the head forward a bit.
NAMED (verb) (When he was a puppy I named my dog Fido)
[Note: For the verb version of this sign, I use a single movement.]
Sample usage: "What is your name?"
In the example below note my facial expression. The furrowed eyebrows, the tilt of my head, and the location of my hands
all turn this one sign into a whole sentence: "What is your name?"
You don't need any additional signs to express this meaning.
This is often signed as "NAME YOU?" Or "YOUR NAME?"
Optional Reading (Not needed for class)
A student writes: I've been watching through your videos and reading at
your website. I'm trying to learn my best about everything ASL! I've
seen you do the sign for "NAME" using a double tap. I've also seen you
sign NAME only tapped once. Is there a reason for this?
In general usage in everyday life with strong context the meaning of the sing
NAME is almost always clear to the viewer regardless of one tap or two -- so
doing a double movement (or not) isn't something to worry about -- however, here
are some notes:
NAME can function as a noun / verb pair.
In general, signs that function as noun / verb pairs use a double movement for
the noun and a single movement for the verb.
NAME can use a slightly extended single movement (single contact) to function as
a verb. (For example: named, called, call, mention, christen, etc.)
NAME can use a double contact to function as a noun.
However, it is also true that in context the sign NAME can function as a noun
even if it only uses a single movement.
The question "NAME YOU?" as in "What is your name?" (using
furrowed eyebrows) often only uses a single movement for
NAME. The question is understandable because it doesn't matter if NAME
functions as a noun or a verb here. If you use a single movement to create a
verb you are asking the technical equivalent of: "What are you named?"
or "What are you called?" -- which is understood by your conversation
partner as you wanting to know their name. (And is typically interpreted as:
"What's your name?")
If for some reason it is important (such as teaching an English class via ASL in
a Deaf classroom, you could use the single movement for verb concepts such as
"named / called / christened" and could contrast those concepts with "name" by
using a double movement to specify "name" as a noun.
Again though -- in typical everyday usage -- it just doesn't matter -- which is
why you will see many skilled signers drop the second contact when signing the
noun of a noun verb pair at high speed. (An example of that is how CHAIR is
often done with a single movement).
Let's avoid the idea that there is one right way to sign things. Sure,
there are ways to sign things that are so odd as to be considered wrong -- but
that isn't my point. My point is to expect to see variation in the Deaf
The question "What is your name?" -- is commonly done several different ways:
1. YOU NAME-(what - single contact)? (Look at the person, point at the
person, furrow your eyebrows, sign NAME using a single contact)
2. NAME-(what - single contact) YOU? (Look at the person, furrow your eyebrows,
sign NAME using a single contact, point at the person)
3. NAME-(what - double contact)? (Look at the person, furrow your
eyebrows, sign NAME using a double contact)
4. YOU NAME WHAT? (Look at the person, point at the person, sign NAME using a
single contact, furrow your eyebrows, sign WHAT-(loose hands version))
And so forth.
What I wish would happen:
Teacher: YOU NAME-(what)?
Student: J-O-H-N S-M-I-T-H.
What happens all too often:
Teacher: YOU NAME-(what)?
Student: MY NAME J-O-H-N S-M-I-T-H.
After teaching ASL for 30 years over 1,000 minutes of my life have been wasted
watching students needlessly sign "MY NAME."
Math: (3.333R seconds) (3 x per semester) (100 students) (2 semesters per year)
= approximately 60,000 seconds
= 1,000 minutes
Want to help support
ASL University? It's easy:
(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 "ASLUniversity.com" (a
free mirror of
Lifeprint.com less traffic, fast access)