American Sign Language: "ready"

The sign for "ready" has a few versions. They are all right.

The main version of "ready" holds the "R"-hands in front of the body (you can overlap them or just have them close to each other) and then moves them outward (to the sides) about 12 centimeters each.


Note: I get the feeling that at some point in the past this sign may have been an "initialized" version of the sign for FINISH but has mutated to the point where it now has a movement somewhat similar to that of a baseball umpire signaling "Safe!"

Another version of "ready" uses a movement similar to one of the versions of the sign "PLAN / prepare."  The "R" hands are both held in front of the torso, off to one side a bit and then both are moved to the other side of the torso using a somewhat quick, definite movement.

READY (conveying the meaning of "We are prepared.")


"Is everybody ready?!"
If you are with a group preparing to "head out" to go somewhere and you want to ask if everyone is prepared to leave you can hold both "R" hands up above your shoulders and shake them back and forth while raising your eyebrows and looking at people.

READY:  "Is everybody ready?!"


A student writes: "I have a question for the sign "READY". Can I use one hand to sign the word, or is it required to to use both hands?"

In considering how to sign READY we need to recognize that we are really discussing a few different inflections of the sign:

READY when expressing in context the question of "Are you ready?" -- can be done either one or two handed. When talking to a large group or situations that are more formal you would tend to use two hands. If driving or holding a cup of coffee in a casual setting you would tend to use one hand.

READY when expressing the concept of "I am ready," "We are ready" or "You'll be ready when?" -- is typically done with two hands and would normally only be done with one hand if you are holding something in the other hand.  This is probably at least partially due to the existence of a competing sign: RIGHT-[direction]-[opposite-of-left] which uses a sweep movement of a single "R"-hand.



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