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American Sign Language:  Notes on signing

Numbering: 1 -- 5: NUMBERS 1-5 are generally done palm back (by native level signers) when done in "isolation." They are palm forward only for emphasis OR when done in a series of other numbers such as a two or more digit number, a phone number, a street address, or a zip code.

Numbering: 24, 26, 27, 28, 29: The "2"-digit in numbers 24, 26, 27, 28, 29 can be signed with either a "V" hand or an "L" hand. While both versions are generally considered correct -- the "L"-hand version seems to be favored by a greater number of native adult Deaf ASL signers.

COME-here vs "come_on_over"-(casual): The sign COME-here generally uses "INDEX-FINGER"-handshapes. If you use a loose handshape (either a loose-FLAT-hand or a loose-5-hand) it changes the sign to mean a very casual "come on over." Of course that is "fine" if that is your intention.

WAIT: For the sign "WAIT" the fingers all flutter, (not just the middle finger bending inward).

Do you have/want/need/like/know/etc. -- type questions are "Yes/No"-questions (questions that are typically answered with a "yes" or a "no" and should be signed with the eyebrows up at the end of the sentence. Example: YOU HAVE MOTORCYCLE? = "Do you have a motorcycle?" -- should end with the eyebrows up.

THINK vs KNOW: The sign for THINK should use an index finger. The sign for KNOW uses a BENT-hand or a FLAT-hand.

NEED: The sign for NEED should only be done with the dominant hand. Using both hands would only be done for "dramatic effect" or emphasis.


100: The sign "100" starts with an index finger (not an "L" hand nor a "D" hand) and changes into a "C" hand (formal) or an "X" hand (casual).
1,000: Use an "index" finger to start the sign "1,000" (not a "D" hand).

A: The thumb on the letter A should be alongside the hand (it should not be jutting out).
ADDRESS: For clarity it is good to do ADDRESS with a double movement.
AGE: Instead of signing, "I/me 25 YEAR OLD" you can sign "I/ME OLD 25" or save some time and effort by signing I/ME OLD-25_[numerical-incorporation: don't sign "OLD" but rather start the sign 25 on the chin and bring it forward and down to your normal finerspelling position]
ALWAYS: This sign sometimes is done by drawing a circle in the air and then moving the hand forward in a "Y" handshape. The "Y" handshape is not necessary. It isn't wrong, but it isn't "needed" either. You can do the sign for always by just circling and index finger (pointing up) in the air.ANIMAL: Each hand in the sign ANIMAL pivots in toward the other hand and then out toward your sides, then repeats. It doesn't pivot up and down.

AM: American Sign Language doesn't use the sign for "am" nor any of the common English "state of being" verbs (sometimes called "be verbs). Instead ASL relies on context, the order of the signs, the choice of signs, and/or non-manual signals such as a nod or shake of the head. For example, you do not need the "AM" sign for the sentence, "I am a senior in high school." You could just sign, "I/ME SENIOR HS" with a very slight (nearly imperceptible) nod of the head during the signing the sentence. Or to be very clear you could sign, "I/ME SENIOR HS I/ME"-(with a slight nod while signing the second I/ME).

Ambidextrous signing: While being able to do things such as writing or eating with either hand is "cool" -- it isn't a good habit to get into when learning how to sign. Instead you should pick a dominant hand and stick with it. Use your dominant hand to do all of your one handed signs (such as the sign "ME"). Also use your dominant hand as the moving hand in two-handed signs in which only one hand moves (such as the sign "LEARN").
ARE: The sign ARE is not used in ASL.
AUNT: When signing AUNT you don't have to be totally "palm forward" but you need to be forward enough that the sign looks different from the sign for DAILY/everyday.
BALD: There are four very common signs for BALD. The sign for BALD that is done on top of the head uses a circular movement. Any other movement is likely to result in amusement due to similarity to or being suggestive of one of the versions of the sign for "gay."
BANANA: Use small, quick movements. Do the sign rather than miming the peeling of a banana.
BATHROOM: The "T" sign is sufficient to mean "bathroom." You don't need to add the BOX sign after the "T" sign to indicate "room." Some signs such as "BEDROOM" do use the BOX sign (in combination with BED), but BATHROOM just shakes the "T" and doesn't add the BOX sign.
BATHROOM: Use the T-handshape version of the sign "BATHROOM." If you sign BATH-ROOM (the sign BATH followed by the sign ROOM) it would mean "bathing room."
BATHROOM: Uses a "T" handshape that twists or shakes. Note this sign doesn't need a separate sign for "room." It is understood without a separate sign.
BIKE: Use "S" hands not "A" hands.
BOOK: The sign for BOOK tends to have a double "opening" movement. This rule gets ignored a lot though and thus it isn't much of a rule and students shouldn't lose points for breaking this rule. The sign for open-a-BOOK tends to consist of a single movement done by the dominant hand while the non-dominant hand stays stationary. However it is also common to see both hands move for "open-a-BOOK."
BOOKSTORE: Since this is a "compound" sign we drop any extra movement and condense the whole sign into just two movements.
CAFETERIA: Taps to each side of the chin.
CALIFORNIA:  The sign for "California" is based on the sign for GOLD (the version that still uses a "Y" handshape).  GOLD is a "multiple meaning" sign. California is known as "The golden State" so the sign GOLD does double duty to mean both "gold" and "California." The specific meaning depends on context.  The sign for "gold" probably started as pointing to your ear lobe and then signing YELLOW (by shaking a "Y" hand) in reference to ear rings made of gold. Over time a shorter version of GOLD has become common that consists of holding a "5" hand up near the earlobe (as if pointing at the earlobe with the middle finger of the "5" hand) and then pulling the hand down and into a "Y" shape as you twist it once or twice.

CAN: The sign "can." Both hands move downward at the same time in one smooth solid motion.
CANDY: While some people sign "SUGAR" or "SWEET" to mean "candy," it is important to know the standard "CANDY" sign that twists an index finger on the cheek. That way you could sign, "CANDY SWEET, WHY? SUGAR!"
CAR: Don't use "A" hands for the "car" sign.  Use "S" hands.  Also don't initialize the sign CAR or use any version of CAR that uses a "C" (other than the lexicalized fingerspelling version) when taking an ASL test. Initialization with a "C" instantly causes this sign to be considered "Signed English. Either use a small repeated movement and "S" hands (as if holding the steering wheel), or just spell it C-A-R. Many Deaf just spell this concept because it is so convenient.
CAT: The sign cat starts with an open "F" or "8" handshape and then closes the "F" or "8" handshape as you slide the hand an inch to the side, and repeat movement. Do not "rub" the fingertips together.
CEREAL: Change from an index finger into an "X"-hand twice as you move your hand in front of your mouth toward your non-dominant side, make sure to end in an X handshape.
CHAIRS: The direction of the fingers indicates the direction of the chair. So be careful about sticking your chairs facing the WALL. I suppose that is okay if they are looking out the windows.
CLASS: The sign CLASS is held a bit higher up than "HOW." The sign CLASS uses more of a horizontal circular movement. The sign HOW uses more of a forward rolling movement. The hands in CLASS tend to separate out as they trace the perimeter of a circle. The hands in HOW tend to stay together, touching at the knuckles as they roll forward.
CLEAN-up uses a double movement vs CLEAN (the state of being clean) uses a single movement.
COLD: The movement is both out to the sides then both in toward the middle, repeated. (Not up and down. We don't want this sign to look like CAR or DRIVE.)
COLLEGE: The sign COLLEGE starts with the palms together and then rotates the top hand up and away from the bottom hand.
COLOR-"What_Color?": When asking what color something is, furrow your eyebrows.
COLOR: When you sign color with furrowed eyebrows, it is generally interpreted as "what color?"
COMPUTER: When doing the version of this sign that is on the wrist or forearm, make sure to use a slight circular movement not a back and forth a sliding movement.
COOK: The sign cook uses flat hands. The base hand doesn't move. During high-speed fluent signing often the dominant doesn't make contact with base hand, but for more deliberate signing the dominant hand slaps down onto the base hand (palm to palm) and then the dominant hand flips over. If you curve your hands it could be misunderstood as HAMBURGER.
DEAF: The sign DEAF moves an index finger from near the ear to near the mouth. You can also move it from near the mouth to near the ear. It is commonly done either way in the Deaf Community. But in general I do it from near the ear to near the mouth. If you actually touch the ear and/or place the finger "on" the mouth or lips it would be a "non-standard" way of signing Deaf. While that might be appropriate for some circumstances in which you intentionally wish to exaggerate this sign -- it would not be appropriate for everyday conversation to actually touch the ear or the lips with the finger. Instead you should just touch the cheek near the ear and the cheek near the mouth. In faster more skillful signing, the movement tends to be very short.
DEAF: The sign Deaf uses an "index" finger handshape. (Not an "L" handshape, nor a "D" handshape.)
DEAF: Uses an index finger not a "D" handshape. If you use a "D" handshape it means "Dorm."
DO-("What do?") The "what-DO?" sign doesn't need to be followed by the "WHAT" sign. That is redundant. The what-DO sign already includes the meaning of "what."
DOCTOR-[medical] vs DOCTOR-[academic] For example: "Dr. Vicars" is not a "medical doctor" and thus should be signed by spelling "D" and "R" then "VICARS" or using the namesign of a "V" to the temple.
DORM: Use a "D" handshape (not an "F" handshape).
DOUBLE_LETTERS: One approach to doing double letters during fingerspelling is to slide, slightly bounce, or reform the second letter slightly to the side. When doing double letters, the movement is toward the outside not toward the inside. If you are right handed you would move further to the right.
E: When you do the letter "E" in general I recommend that you use the "closed" version rather than the open version. It looks more natural than the open form. The closed version (fingertips resting on side of thumb) is better accepted in the Deaf Community. The "open version" of the letter "E" is sometimes called a "Screaming E" because it sort of resembles an open mouth "screaming." If you do an "open E" it is like announcing "Hey I'm a HEARING PERSON!" If you do the letter "E" closed (with the thumb touching the fingers) but "rounded" it looks too much like an "O." So I recommend you bend the thumb and rest the fingertips of your index, middle, and ring, along the top of your thumbnail and and first knuckle. The letter "E" actually has several versions that are influenced by the preceding letter in your fingerspelled word. If the preceding letter is an "N" then the "E" will often rest the tips of just the index and middle fingers on the thumb.  If the preceding letter is an "M" then the "E" will rest the tips of the index, middle, and ring fingers on the thumb.
EGGS: The sign Eggs uses an "H" handshape, not index fingers.
ELEVATOR: Should use a firm up-once, down once movement of the dominant hand.
ENGINE: The fingers are bent (not straight).
FALL (as in "autumn): The movement is done by the dominant hand. The non-dominant hand is in a "5" handshape (as if representing a tree) and doesn't move.  The dominant hand brushes downward along the "trunk" of the tree as if representing leaves falling.
EQUAL, the palms are each facing in, not down. The tips of the fingers come together.
INITIALS: When doing "initials" such as the U and the S in the concept of "U.S." (as in "the United States") the letter is moved in a very small vertical circle (as if drawing a small circle on a wall.  That movement indicates that the letter is an "initial" for something and not just regular spelling.
J: The letter "J" should be signed using a small twist of the wrist (clockwise if you are right handed, counter clockwise if you are left handed). The twist actually happens in the elbow and forearm -- not the wrist. The wrist doesn't bend. 
FAVORITE: When signing favorite, use a jabbing motion not a brushing motion.
FEEL: is done in the middle or a bit to the dominant side of the chest, (not on the belly).
FEW: The sign FEW only uses one hand. Start with a palm-back "A" handshape and move it slightly toward the side (outside) as you extend the index, then the middle, then the ring, then pinkie fingers, in a smooth movement. (As if counting a few items). Another version of FEW uses the thumb, index and middle fingers.
FINGERSPELL: The movement of the main version of the sign for "fingerspell" is toward the outside. Thus if you are left-handed your hand should still move toward the outside (or your left side). If you are right handed the sign should move toward your right.
FINGERSPELLING: "Double letters": Suppose you are spelling the name "Debbie." The double letters "BB" in Debbie would look better if you used a small slide rather than showing each individual letter. It depends on the "letter" involved. For example, for the name "Jennifer," I tend to reform the "N" letters rather than slide them.
FINGERSPELLING: BOUNCE: When fingerspellling pretend that your elbow is on a table (not for real, but just imagine). Note how with your elbow on the (imaginary) table your hand doesn't bob up and down in the air as you spell? That helps to make sure your hand doesn't bounce up and down as you spell words.
FINGERSPELLING: POSITION: When fingerspellling, keep your hand within about 8 to 16 inches from your face. If you hold your hand too far to the side or too low it makes it hard to read your fingerspelling and see your face at the same time.
FINGERSPELLING: While fingerspellling, keep your hand in the same place except for the small slide for the double letters. You don't want to end up way off to the side.
FINISH: This sign uses the "5-handshape" on each hand (fingers spread).
FLORIDA: The concept of Florida is expressed by spelling "F-L-A."
FLOWER: The sign flower uses a flattened "O" handshape,
FOOD: The sign "FOOD" uses the same contact location each time. (It doesn't actually have to make contact either.) If you change the contact point you could end up looking like you are signing a "low" version of "FLOWER." So, do the sign FOOD at the center of your mouth for both movements.
FROM:  The dominant hand should be the hand that "pulls back."
FROM:  The palm-side of the non-dominant hand should be aimed toward the dominant hand. The non-dominant hand should not be palm-back.
FUTURE/WILL: The sign FUTURE doesn't touch the head.
GO: The sign GO uses index fingers (not flat hands).
GOAL: Slightly elevate the non-dominant hand. Then move the dominant hand toward it in a firm movement but don't actually touch the non-dominant hand. Note: you can indicate "long term goals" by holding the base hand further out and using a larger movement.
HAIR: Uses an "open F" handshape that closes into a normal "F" handshape.
HAMBURGER: Should only have two movements.
HANGERS: If you are referring to hanging up clothing, make sure to elevate the "hanging up clothes" sign a bit.
HARD: uses a single striking motion onto the back or side of the non-dominant "S" or "bent V" hand.
HARD-of-HEARING:  The sign HARD-OF-HEARING should move toward the dominant side.
HAVE: Uses "bent-b" handshapes that touch the chest.
HE/SHE/HIM/HER: When indexing an absent person it is best to default to your dominant side (rather than pointing across your signing space).
HEARING: The rotation of the sign HEARING is up, out, down, and back in again.
HERE vs WHAT: The sign HERE uses a very slight circular movement [forward, side, back, forward]. The sign WHAT uses a bit of a hunch, the fingers are spread out more, and there is no circular movement
High School: This sign is done by doing the letters "H" and "S."
HIM/HER: uses only one hand
HOME: Start on the cheek near the mouth. End on the cheek near the ear.  You may see some people do it the opposite way, but it is more common to start near the mouth.
HORSE: The sign HORSE is generally only done with "one hand" (not two hands). Adult Deaf skilled signers do the sign HORSE with only one hand in everyday conversation. In the Lifeprint lessons this sign is demonstrated with only one hand. If a student does this sign with two hands indicates that the student needs to spend more time reviewing the lessons and not relying on old information and/or outdated sources. The only time I'd suggest using two hands on a sign such as HORSE is if you were telling a very animated story to very young children, (such as in a pre-school situation = "motherese").
HOUR: The sign for "HOUR" should use an "index/1" finger on the dominant hand (not a "D" handshape).
HOW-MANY: The sign "HOW-MANY" doesn't need the sign "HOW," instead it just uses the sign MANY but changes the movement. Instead of moving forward, HOW-MANY moves upward a couple of inches. Additionally, the facial expression for "HOW-MANY" is a "Wh"-type facial expression wherein the eyebrows are narrowed. You may see some people signing the sign HOW-MANY by using both signs (HOW and MANY) but they are wasting effort.
I: ASL doesn't use an initialized version of the sign "I." (That is "Signed English.) The sign for "I" in ASL is done by pointing at yourself with your index finger, or it is incorporated into the beginning location of certain verbs such as " I-GIVE-him" wherein a separate sign for "I or me" is not needed since the sign starts near the body and moves toward "him." Do not use the palm of the hand unless you mean "my."
IN: When signing a phrase like, "I live in (such and such a place)" you don't need to do the sign "IN." Just drop that sign. If you do sign "IN" for that type of sentence it turns your signing into "Signed English" and causes you to look like you don't know ASL.
INDEX_FINGER:  The index finger handshape is different from a "D" handshape. The "index finger" handshape wraps the thumb across the front of the compacted hand (with the index finger sticking up).  The "D" handshape touches the tip of the thumb to tip of the middle finger (or middle and ring fingers) thus creating a hollow hand. Make sure you use an INDEX finger handshape and not a "D" handshape when doing such signs as "SIGN" and or doing the number "1." (Since the number "1" uses an index finger handshape and not a "D" handshape).
INDEXING: When setting up the people in your story, it is important that you don't put one person on top of another. For example SHE and YOUR. The sign YOUR is done toward the person watching you sign. The sign SHE is generally done off to the right (but can be elsewhere if some other referent has already been established off to the right, or if the person (SHE) is visible in the area you can point in her direction. The sign YOU would be done in the direction of the person to whom you are conversing.
INITIALIZATION: "Over initialization of signs" happens when you overdo the use of the initial letter of an English word as the handshape of an ASL sign. Over initialization causes a person's signing to appear "English-like." For example, the sign if a person puts an "F" on the sign for "AUTUMN/FALL" it turns the ASL sign into a "Signed English" version. Adult native Deaf signers who are socially active in the Deaf Community do not initialize the sign "FALL" with an "F" handshape. Thus if you initialize your signs it tends to causes your signing to look "odd." Many signs however are commonly initialized in ASL. How do you know which ones? You take lots of classes and/or spend thousands of hours interacting with skilled adult native signers.
IS: ASL doesn't use the sign "IS." When signing something like "My name is Jane," you should simply sign MY NAME J-A-N-E.
K: The letter "K" needs to be done in such a way that it looks different from a "V."  Do not do a "V" with the thumb in the middle.  To make a "K" point your index finger straight up and point your middle finger mostly forward.
KNOW vs THINK: The general basic sign "THINK" uses a single index finger that touches the forehead (a bit to the side). The sign "KNOW" uses the fingertips of a bent hand. (A bent hand is like a "b-hand" (thumb alongside, not tucked under) that is bent at the large knuckles (bent, not curved).
LIKE: The ending handshape of the sign LIKE is an "8" handshape. To do the sign "LIKE" right -- you need to extend the ring and pinkie fingers as well as the index finger.
LIVE: Use "A" handshapes instead of "S" handshapes.
LIVE: I recommend you avoid excessive initialization. There is a general movement in the Deaf community away from initialization. Sure, I used to sign "LIVE" using "L" hands (years ago) but I've moved away from that and instead do "LIVE" with "A" hands to be signing "ASL" rather than doing "English-like" signing. If your local instructor or friend insists you do "LIVE" with an "L" there is no need to argue, just do it the way the locals do it, but keep in the back of your mind that the more you initialize signs, the more it looks like you are signing English and not ASL. While the "L" version is "okay," the "A" version is considered "more ASL" by many adult Deaf native ASL signers. This isn't a "right or wrong" issue. It is simply the way the Deaf Community is starting to move: More pride in our language equals less of a desire to cause our language to look like the language of the dominant society. That in turn leads to active efforts (by many) to avoid "initialization."
MAJOR: When doing the sign for major, the non-dominant hand should not move. The dominant hand should slide forward along the top of the stationary non-dominant hand.
MARRY or MARRIAGE: The dominant hand should be on top. The non-dominant hand should be below and not actively move.
MAKE: Uses "S" handshapes
MEET: "Did you meet ____?" When doing a "Did you meet _____?" type question, your eyebrows should be up (since it is a yes or no question). Also the dominant hand moves toward the stationary non-dominant hand. The non-dominant hand should be off to the side a bit to indicate a third-person pronoun/classifier.
MEET-you: Keep the fingers pointing mostly upright. Do not let this sign turn into a horizontal sign.
MEET-you: Do not touch the tips of the index fingers. Use "index finger handshapes - not "D" handshapes.
MEET-you: The dominant hand should start from near the body, palm-side facing forward and moves toward the non-dominant hand. The non-dominant hand should be held out from the body palm-side facing toward the body and doesn't move during this sign.
MEET: "to-MEET-you" can be shown with one sign (if done directionally). You don't need to add the separate sign YOU if you hold the non-dominant hand away from your body (with the palm-side facing back).
MILK: Opens and closes from a "C" into an "S" twice. Your arm doesn't move up and down. The location of the sign is out from the body and not near the chin at all. (We don't want to be misunderstood as meaning "HOW-OLD?"
MILK: uses only one hand. Opens and closes from a "C" into an "S" twice. The hand doesn't move up and down, it just closes twice.
MINUS: The "take away" version of the sign MINUS should end in an "S" handshape.
MOST: The sign most uses "A" handshapes. The non-dominant hand is stationary. The dominant hand starts below the non-dominant hand. The dominant hand moves upward and past the non-dominant hand. The dominant hand usually brushes against the non-dominant hand.
MOTORCYCLE: You should only twist the right hand (not both hands) since the gas control is on the right.
MOVEMENT: REPETITIONS: In general signs tend to have only one or two movements. Sometimes well-meaning teachers repeat the movement of a sign three or more times so that their students can better catch how the sign is moved. Unfortunately the student may think that the sign is indeed repeated multiple times. For example, perhaps the instructor teaches the sign "BANANA" and shows the "peeling" movement 3 times. That is not how the sign is produced in everyday signed conversation between native Deaf signers. While it is true that if you interview 10 native Deaf signers regarding the sign for BANANA you will likely see a variety of handshapes and movement paths but for the most part you will only see two movements not three. It is a matter of efficiency.
MOVIE: The sign for movie uses a side to side twist, the fingers do not "flutter."
MY vs I: The sign for MY is a flat hand. The (ASL) sign for "I" is done by pointing at yourself with an index finger.  To sign "My name is..." you can use:  "MY NAME ..." to sign "I am Jane," just point to yourself with an index finger then spell your name.
NAME: When signing "NAME" your dominant hand should be on top.
NEIGHBOR: This sign has several variations. For clarity you should add the PERSON (non-initialized) sign to it to distinguish the sign from the sign NEAR.
NUMBER: The sign for "number" uses a twisting movement prior to each contact.  Compare and contrast this sign with the sign for "more." The sign "MORE" doesn't twist it simply makes contact.
NUMBER: 23: Make sure you are familiar with the "fluttering middle finger" version of the sign "23."
NUMBER: 25: Make sure you are familiar with the fluttering middle finger version of the sign "25."
NUMBERING: In general, when done as isolated signs, numbers "1 through 5" should be done "palm back." Depending on the situation though, numbers 1 through 5 are sometimes done palm forward. For example, when they are part of a series of numbers, when you are doing "time of day" signs, when you are signing ages, and when you are trying to emphasize something. Some teachers will mark you wrong if you do numbers 1 through 5 palm-forward. So find out what your local teacher wants since some teachers are particular about wanting numbers 1 through 5 palm back when they are done as isolated numbers.
NUMBERS 1 - 9 do not twist unless you are trying to do $1, $2, $3, etc.
NUMBERS: "2" - The non-emphasized number 2, when done in isolation is done palm back with the index and middle finger spread. (It looks like a backwards "V," -- NOT a "U".)
NUMBERS 1-5 are palm back when done in "isolation." They are palm forward when done in a series of other numbers such as a two or more digit number, a phone number, a street address, or a zip code.
NUMBERS 6 through 9 should be palm forward.
NUMBER 15: The thumb points out to the side and doesn't move. The four fingers bend at the large knuckles, twice.
NUMBERS 16 - 19: When signing the numbers 16 - 19 the twist is toward the front not toward the back.
NUMBERS 16 - 19: The "ten+six, ten+seven, ten+eight, and ten+nine" version of numbers 16-19 is "okay." It is simply one more variation. But note that the initial "10" loses its internal movement and becomes simply an "A" handshape, pinkie-side down and then uses a single twist as it changes to a 6, 7, 8, or 9.
NUMBERS: 20: The number 20 looks like a "G" that closes twice.
NUMBERS: 23 through 29 are palm forward.
NUMBERS: The numbers 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29 are done "in place." There is no (or almost no) sideways movement in these signs.
NUMBERS: The recommended version of numbers 24, 26, 27, 28, and 29 all tend to look like an "L" as the first digit followed by the 2nd digit. For example: "L4" would be "24." But don't think of it as an "L" -- it is just a handshape that can mean many things and in this context it indicates that the number you are talking about is in the "twenties." An "okay" but not recommended way to sign 24, 26, 27, 28, and 29 is to show a palm forward "2" followed by the other digit.
NUMBERS: When doing 2, 3, 4, 5, (and similar numbers) make sure to spread the extended fingers a bit. (We don't want a "2" to look like an "H" or a "U," nor do we want a "6" to look like a Boy Scout hand-sign.
NUMBER 100: Start with an "index" finger, not a "D"-handshape.
NUMBER: 100: Do the number 100 with more of a "C" shape after the "1" not an "E" handshape.
NUMBER: 1,000: The dominant hand does the movement. It should start as a "1" handshape and then form a bent-hand and touch the fingertips to the palm of the flat base-hand.
OLD:  The sign for old starts as a palm-back "C" hand and then changes into an "S" hand.  (It doesn't start as a palm-up open-B hand that changes into a flat-O hand -- that means "Jew.") 
ON: The sign "ON" is rarely used in ASL. You do not need it for concepts such as "I live on Yancy Street." Nor do you need it for concepts such as "I work on Mondays."  In both of those situations you can just drop the sign ON since the meaning is clear without it.
ON-TIME: The sign "ON-TIME" is done somewhat like the sign for TIME, except "ON-TIME" starts higher, does a sharp movement downward, makes contact but doesn't stop, and bounces back up about six inches.  The sharpness of the movement and high bounce off of the wrist emphasize that we are discussing punctuality and not just "time."
OR: When comparing two things, you can express the concept of "or" by using a side to side body shift.
PEOPLE: Either do this sign with the palms pointing downward or forward but not inward. (The middle finger of each hand points downward or forward but not toward the other hand.) Some people circle the hands backwards, some circle the hands forwards, do it however you see your instructor or local Deaf do it.
PREFER: On the "body based" version of PREFER at the beginning of the sign the tip of the hand is actually touching the body and then moves to the side while turning into an "A" handshape.
PICTURE: When done casually this sign is produced by placing the pinkie side of the dominant hand onto the palm of the non-dominant flat hand.
PIZZA: When doing any of the spelled versions of PIZZA, make sure to end in an "A."  Sure, there are lots of variations, but ending in an "A" is more clear and further distinguishes the sign PIZZA from the sign for SNAKE.
QUESTION MARK: If you are using your facial expressions correctly the question mark sign doesn't need to be shown each time you end a sentence. We already know you asked a question because we can see it on your face. We only need to add the question mark if the sentence structure is such that there may be some doubt that we are asking a question. Sometimes we add a question mark for emphasis but it is not a part of "every" signed question.
RECENTLY: Uses an "X" handshape, pointing backwards. The handshape extends and flexes the index finger a couple times.
RESTLESS-sitting/ANXIOUS: The base hand extends the index and middle fingers. (Two fingers, not just one.)Rhetorical Questions:  Normally we lower our eyebrows when asking "WH"-type questions (WHO? WHEN? WHERE? WHY? HOW?) -- but when using those signs to ask rhetorical questions you should instead raise your eyebrows. Thus we turn them into Yes/No type questions such as: "Do you want to know why?", "Do you want to know how?", "Would you like to know where?" -- all of which should use raised eyebrows since they are in actuality "Yes/No"-type questions that we are using to engage our audience.
Rhetorical-WHERE: When asking a rhetorical question such as "I work where?" -- you don't use the normal "WH"-question facial expression.  Instead, you actually raise the eyebrows instead of lowering them. That is because such a rhetorical question really means: "Do you want to know where I work?" That is a yes or no question and thus should have eyebrows up not down. If you were really asking someone where they work, then yes, of course you would furrow your eyebrows, but when asking a "rhetorical question" you are expecting the other person to actually respond and tell you where you work. Rather you are hoping they will lean forward and pay attention.
RIGHT-side: If something is on your right and you are "right hand dominant" then you will want to turn the thumbside down and pat toward the right with your palm facing right. (It is a bit of an awkward sign) but the point is the palm-side of your hand indicates which side the referent is on. So if it is on your right and you are right handed you are going to have to twist your hand till the thumb is down and then pat toward the right.
SCHOOL: Keep the hands flat. Don't curve the hands or it looks too much like "marriage."
SECRET: Taps the middle of the chin twice.
SEE-her: can be done with one hand, palm back, moving toward the right.
SENIOR: When signing "senior" as in a "senior" in high school or college, both the dominant hand and the non-dominant hand should be in "5" handshapes.
SEPARATED: Uses "loose C" hands or "Curved hands" that change to "A" hands. If you use a "D" handshape it means "Divorce."
SHE is generally done off to the right (but can be elsewhere if some other referent has already been established off to the right, or if the person (SHE) is visible in the area you can point in her direction. The sign YOU would be done in the direction of the person to whom you are conversing.
SICK: The sign sick makes contact using the middle fingers not the index fingers.
SIGN: The standard sign for "SIGN" as in "signing," uses "INDEX" finger handshapes, (not "D" hands).
SIZE: The sign for size or measure uses "Y" hands, not "A" hands with the thumbs extended. Stick out both the pinkie and the thumb on each hand.
SLEEP: The sign for "SLEEP" only uses one hand.
STORE: Do the sign store in the neutral area in front of your chest and/or stomach. Don't hold the sign at "head level" or it will look odd.
STUDENT: When signing "STUDENT" your non-dominant hand should stay down near your torso and not move up toward your head when you move the dominant hand upward. We want to avoid looking as if we are combining the signs STUDENT and TEACHER. 
TEACH vs TEACHING:  In the sentence, "Do you think you want to teach ASL someday?" -- the sign for "TEACH" should be done with just one movement since it is a verb.  Sure "teaching" can be a verb too, but it can also be an adjective or noun. (Verb: Yesterday while teaching I had an idea!" Adjective: Yesterday was a teaching day for me. Noun: Teaching is a challenging profession.)  So, when signing "TEACH" it is best to use a single movement. When signing "teaching" as a noun or adjective use two small movements. When signing "teaching" as a verb showing progressive aspect (that the teaching is happening over time or at a particular time) use two somewhat larger movements.
TEACHER: Do not use a grabbing movement. Just position your hands near your forehead in squashed "O" shapes. Do not actually touch your head. This sign is often started much lower. The sign TEACHER tends to use only one forward movement in the "TEACH" portion of the sign followed by the downward (person) movement. This is a compound sign and thus internal movement is dropped.
TELL: Uses an index finger that starts palm back with the pad touching the chin and then the hand is moved so that the tip of the index finger moves forward and down in an arc.
TELL-me: starts with and Index finger held about four inches in front of the chin and then moves in and grazes the chin with the tip of the index finger. The tip of the finger continues moving until it makes contact with the chest.  You do not need two separate signs ("TELL" and "ME") to do this concept.
TENNESSEE: When signing " Tennessee" you just spell "T-E-N-N"
THANK-YOU: The sign doesn't use the base hand. If you use the base hand it may be confused with "GOOD."
THEM: The concept of "them" is expressed via a short sweeping movement. If you use a jab it generally means "he, she, or it." (Since you jab at a singular place in the air.)
THINK: The general or basic sign for "THINK" uses a single index finger touched to the forehead. The sign "KNOW" uses the fingertips of a bent hand. (A bent hand is like a "b-hand" (thumb alongside, not tucked under) that is bent at the large knuckles (bent, not curved).
THIS: When referring to "this room" you would simply point downward prior to signing ROOM. When signing "this afternoon" use the "NOW" sign with the sign AFTERNOON.
TO:  Do not include unnecessary elements from English grammar in your signing.  Often you can or should drop signs such as IN or TO.  We do not sign two separate signs to mean "go to" in ASL.  We just sign "GO" and the "to" is understood.  The same with "live in" (drop the "in") and "want to" (drop the to).  Often English phrases have a more direct method of expression in ASL.  For example, "have to."  In ASL we don't say, "I have to miss class tomorrow." We instead sign, "I MUST MISS CLASS TOMORROW."  Some people will tell you that you need to sign TOMORROW first in that sentence but that isn't true.  The "need" to miss class tomorrow exists today.  Right now, today I have an existing "need" to miss class tomorrow.  But yes, sure, -- most of the time you should establish your time concept first when it influences the conjugation of your verbs.
TOILET: The default interpretation of the "BATHROOM" sign is "bathroom" rather than "toilet." It is true that this sign means both concepts but for everyday interpretation we interpret it as "bathroom."
TONIGHT: The sign "TONIGHT" uses a combination of NOW and EVENING.
UPSTAIRS: The sign UPSTAIRS uses two quick jabbing movements of the index finger. The location (place in space where you do the sign) is generally no higher than your head. If you just do a single movement it would mean "up" but not upstairs.
W: Do the letter "W" palm forward. (Unless you are signing "Wednesday." When signing Wednesday the advanced form of the sign is palm "up/back" --the palm pointing over your shoulder actually-- the fingertips are pointing forward/up). But in general "W" is palm forward and somewhat to the left (if you are right handed) for comfort reasons. (It hurts to have it "directly" forward.)
WATCH: When referring to watching something in a casual manner, use the bent-L handshape version of this sign. See:
WEATHER: The palm orientation for the initialized version of "WEATHER is palm forward (and maybe a little bit palm down-but mostly palm forward).
WEB or WEBSITE: The sign for "WEB" varies. A safe way to express it is to spell "W-E-B." Some people sign it as "WW." This is a shorted (lexicalized) form of the idea of showing W-W-W (the handshape, location, and movement are actually very similar to the how we sign the number "66." This is different from the sign "INTERNET" which uses the "five"-handshape on each hand with the middle fingers bent at the large knuckles.WHEN: The sign for when tends to use a clockwise movement.
WH-type QUESTIONS:  Wh-type questions such as those using signs like WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW, and HOW-MANY use lowered eyebrows (unless they are rhetorical questions or the greeting "How are you." Rhetoricals and greetings are exceptions to this rule).
WHAT-KIND: The sign "WHAT-KIND" uses a forward, down, back, up rotating movement. (Not the other direction).
WHAT-KIND:  The sign WHAT-KIND doesn't need or use a separate sign for WHAT.  Instead you sign "TYPE/KIND" while using a "WH-Question" facial expression.
WHAT NAME or "NAME WHAT" vs "what-NAME?": The concept of "WHAT NAME?" in sentences such as "What is your name?" or "What is his/her name?" can be expressed as the compound sign "what-NAME?" This is done by combining the sign for "NAME" with furrowed eyebrows and a slight tilt of the head (but not adding the separate sign "WHAT"). The separate sign WHAT is not needed since the concept of "what?" is already being shown by the facial expression.
WHEN: The movement should be done by the dominant hand.
WHERE: The movement is in the wrist and not in the large knuckle.
WHICH uses "A" handshapes with somewhat loose thumbs. (Raise the thumbs a bit.) So it doesn't look like "DRIVE."
WORK: In general, the citation form of the sign WORK uses a double movement and the base hand doesn't move. If you move both hands downward it could be misunderstood as "HABIT." During high speed signing of phrases, you may indeed see the sign work done with a single movement.
X: The thumb is NOT tucked in when doing the letter "X." It just takes too much time. While it is true that some old ABC charts showed it tucked in, doing so just isn't efficient for actual everyday signing. Instead the thumb is bent just enough to make slight contact with the middle finger. The only time I can remember actually signing anything that tucked in an "X" was back when computer chip manufacturers came out with a chip called an "MX."
YEAR: "one year": The sign "ONE-YEAR" starts with the number one on the dominant hand. Then as the dominant hand moves around the non-dominant hand it changes into an "S" shape.
YES/NO Sentence Type: Yes or No type questions should generally end with the eyebrows up. When signing YES/NO Sentences, (sentences that can be answered with a yes or no), for example if you were to ask someone "Are you married?" -- you should raise your eyebrows. So, remember, if asking a question that can be answered with a yes or a no (such as "Do you have a picture of your family?") you should raise your eyebrows.
YESTERDAY doesn't drag along the chin. It touches, then arcs out a bit and backward and then ends with a touch. It can use either an "A" hand or a "Y" hand. (Check with your local Deaf to see which they prefer.) You will see it either way in the wider Deaf community, but most ASL teachers prefer for their students to avoid using excessive initialization.

YOU vs YOUR: The sign YOU points at the referent with an index finger. The sign YOUR points toward the referent with the palm of a flat hand.

YOUR. The sign YOUR is done toward the person watching you sign. The handshape is a "flat hand." The palm is toward the person to whom you are signing. The fingertips are pointing upward.

YOUR vs 5: The sign for YOUR tends to be a flat hand (with the fingers together and the thumb alongside). Sometimes signers do the sign YOUR loosely and it starts looking a bit more like the number "5." That doesn't mean it is wrong. It simply means they are signing loosely -- as often happens during high speed signing. However, it is good to keep in mind the formal version of the sign YOUR is a "flat hand" not a "5-hand."
LIVE/alive/survive/address: The sign for LIVE does not need to be followed by the sign "IN" when signing a phrase such as "I live in Simi Valley." Just sign "INDEX-PRO-1-(I/me) LIVE S-I-M-I--V-A-L-L-E-Y."

10 (ten): The number "ten" uses a twist. Do not "wiggle" or independently move the thumb. (We don't want it to look like a shell-less turtle. Nor do we want it to look like we are pressing a detonator on a bomb.)

22 (twenty-two): The number 22 should arc toward the outside (not the inside).
23 (twenty-three): The number 23 should face palm forward (or at a comfortable angle somewhat forward).
22 -- 29: The numbers 23 through 29 should all face palm forward (or at a comfortable angle somewhat forward). Unless you are counting to yourself (or someone standing to your side).

WH-facial expression: When asking "What is your name?" -- The proper facial expression would be to slightly furrow the eyebrows when you do the sign "NAME." (Try to stay friendly looking even with the furrowed brows.) You could sign, "NAME YOU?" or "HEY, YOU what-NAME?" -- but in either case the eyebrows should go down slightly. If you move your eyebrows up that would turn the question into a Yes/No-type question and would thus mean, "Do you have a name?"

BACKPACK: The sign for "backpack" will vary depending on the region in which you are signing. If you choose to do the "A" hands version of backpack (which looks sort of as if you are holding onto the straps of a backpack with the knuckles forward and the thumbs upward) bring the "A" hands directly back to the chest twice (don't move this version up and down).

GARAGE: When signing GARAGE keep the non-dominant hand still. It is the dominant hand that moves. If you move the non-dominant hand (more than once) it changes the meaning into "driving forward under something." If you move the non-dominant hand once it means "the roof or canopy slid or moved into a position over the car."

DEAF vs GIRL: The sign for "Deaf" uses an INDEX finger handshape and an arc movement. The sign for GIRL uses an "A"-handshaped-(with a slightly jutting thumb) and a slide movement.

ANY: The sign for "any" uses a single "curve" movement (not a double movement).

LIKE: The sign for "like" (the feeling of liking someone or something) starts close to the chest as a "5"-hand and moves forward a short distance and turns into an "8"-hand. (The sign for "like" doesn't move to the side or backward.)

K: Make sure to articulate your K's so that they don't look like V's. Make sure the middle finger points forward enough to distinguish the K from a V.

03 / THREE: The number "3" uses the thumb, index, and middle fingers (not the index, middle, and ring fingers).

08 / EIGHT: Make sure to articulate your 8's clearly. Sometimes you have a sticky ring finger that resists pointing upward.
22 /TWENTY-TWO: The number 22 uses a "V" hand not an "L" hand. (Perhaps you've picked up a regional variation but in general "L" is not commonly used for the number "22."

22 / TWENTY-TWO: The bounce is toward the dominant side not the weak side.

CALIFORNIA: comes from near the ear (not so much the cheek). Memory aid: California is the golden state. People wear gold ear rings. The (older and still best) sign for GOLD points at the ear and then signs "YELLOW." This sign has evolved over the years to use mean "California" (sometimes starting with a "5" handshape as the middle finger of the five handshape points at the earlobe.

Double Letters: When doing double letters, do them toward the outside. For example, if you are going to spell MASS (short for Massachusetts) or CHESS (as in the game of "chess") when you get to S's you move the hand slightly to the right (if you are right handed).

@ or AT: The "AT" sign (as in @) is used only for email addresses or similar typography. It is not used for sentences such as "I work at the library." For such a sentence you would sign: "I WORK LIBRARY" or "I WORK INDEX LIBRARY" or "I WORK NANTUCKET LIBRARY" "I WORK WHERE? LIBRARY."

FISHING vs "cast your line": The sign for FISHING uses a double movement. The movement is much smaller than "to cast a fishing line."

THIS: The sign for "THIS" (as in "THIS CITY BOOKSTORE how-MANY?) uses only one hand (not two hands).

VEGETABLE: There are a couple ways to do vegetable. If you do the pivot version the palm should be palm forward (not palm back).

WHO: The index finger circling the mouth version of WHO is a lesser used version that seems to have been more popular in the "old days" but isn't as popular these days.

Compare: HELLO vs DON'T-KNOW
Compare: DEAF vs HOME
Compare: ANY vs OTHER
Compare: WANT vs HAVE
Compare: K vs P

Mouthing: Tip:  Do not use excessive mouthing of English words. Excessive mouthing tends to lead to thinking in English which influences your signing.  It is true though that many Deaf people do mouth various concepts while signing -- particularly when it helps to clarify the intended meaning of a multiple meaning concept and/or when signing with ASL students or beginners. Additionally, some signs are typically accompanied by some sort of mouth movement. However in general Deaf people don't tend to mouth as much when signing with each other as we do when signing with Hearing people. 

Timeline:  Tip:  When telling a story in ASL is common (and effective) to use a chronological approach combined with the use of space and movement as if you had a small stage in front of and/or around you.

An email sent to a Deaf student:

Dear _______,

Hello :)

First of all I want you to know that it is obvious to me that you are already a fairly skilled signer and that you have quite a bit of signing experience from outside this course.  Just from the short sample I can tell you are one of the following Deaf/hh, CODA (child of Deaf parents), have a Deaf brother or sister, or are otherwise immersed in some aspect of the Deaf world.

I also want you to know up front that I'm granting you an ___ grade on your video exam at ___ % and ___  out of 250 points.

You may wonder why you are getting ___% and not 100%.

It is because you are not signing "ASL" you are signing something that has been traditionally been referred to as PSE or "Pidgin Signed English" or more recently simply called "contact signing."

It is also obvious to me that the signing you know wasn't learned from the lessons in this course but rather you already knew sign language.  That is certainly okay.  Life is like that. We learn on our own and sometimes we apply that pre-existing knowledge to courses we take in school Bravo! That is a good thing.

My goal then for this bit of feedback is to give you some suggestions regarding how to pass an ASLPI (American Sign Language Proficiency Interview) if someday you are called upon to do so. I also wish to alert you to a few differences between regional signing and a bit more widely recognized versions or versions that tend to show up on the hands of native Deaf adults who have attended major residential schools for the Deaf.

Please remember that these are not criticisms of your signing but rather tips for widening your range of signing and for helping to insure that when needed you can confine your signing to ASL grammar structures and sign variations.

So, let's get started:
I noticed that you use the sign "IS."  American Sign Language doesn't use signs for "state of being verbs." 

When signing a sentence in ASL you don't use   state of being verbs,   (is, am, was, were, are, be, being, been...).  For example:    I am happy   would be signed,   I HAPPY   while nodding my head and smiling.  If I wanted to sign   I'm not happy,   I'd sign   I HAPPY   while shaking my head negatively and frowning a bit or pursing my lips. 

To affirm that a thing or state exists in ASL you nod your head.
When negating the existence of a state or thing in ASL you shake your head.

While ASL doesn't use signs for "be verbs" for everyday communication -- there are signs for referring to be verbs.  Read that again if you need to.  That sentence could get you in trouble with your local teacher.  My point is that in ASL "be verb" signs are reserved for situations where you are talking about English. For example, a teacher in an English class at a Deaf school might use signs for  "is, am, was, were, be, being, been" and so forth to talk about the English language while teaching an English class. But ASL itself doesn't use "be verbs."   Most ASL instructors will tell you ASL doesn't use "be verbs" -- and they are right in that the grammar of ASL doesn't require a "subject  +   be- verb  +   adjective" type of sentence.  Instead ASL tends to use a  "subject   +   predicate"  type of structure. ("Predicate" is just a fancy word that means "say something about.") You might call that a   topic   +   comment   sentence structure.  Some people say that ASL doesn't use a  "Subject-Verb-Object" (SVO)  sentence structure.  That is not true. ASL uses a variety of sentence types and does indeed make use of SVO sentence structure (in addition to other structures). For example:  I GO STORE  uses a subject-verb-object structure.  So, remember ASL uses many different sentence structures (just like all other real languages).  For more information on this topic check out the grammar sections in the Lifeprint Library.  

Don't let the gloss fool you, ("gloss" is what you call it when you write one language in another language.) Just because I didn't type the words "am" and "to" doesn't mean that the function of "am" and  "to"  aren't being taken care of.  The function of these words is to indicate affirmation or existence.  The function of the word "am" in that sentence is replaced by a slight nod of the head; and "to" is incorporated in the movement and direction of the sign for GO.  The sign GO actually means, "go to."    There is much more to ASL than can be easily typed onto a flat screen.

Let's get really clear on this--if someone asks you, "Does ASL use 'be' verbs?" --  you should answer "No."   If I ask you on a quiz in this curriculum,   Does ASL have 'be' verbs?   you should answer "No."  But in the back of your head remember that there are Signed English signs for "IS," "BE, WAS, WERE" -- we just don't use them as verbs in ASL and when we do use them it is to sign in English (or PSE -- but not ASL) or to talk about English.


NAMED/CALLED: If you do the sign that is labeled NAME using a single motion it creates the verb form of the sign.  The verb form of the sign NAME means "was named...," "is named...," "I named...," etc. or "I called my dog Spot" or "he called his girlfriend 'Honey."  The noun form uses a double movement but the verb form uses a single movement.  At least that is the "principle" or "rule" -- but in real life many people do the noun form using just a single movement simply because it is faster and easier.

I notice that when signing "what kind" you use two movements. That is "okay" but I want you to know that you can sign the word "KIND" and use the furrowed eyebrows without using the separate sign "WHAT" thus we have "what-KIND" instead of WHAT KIND.  You can save a bit of work and look a bit more like ASL in your signing rather than signed English.


DRESS / "a dress" You may wish to do your sign for "dress" (as in do you like to wear a dress) a bit larger and with a single movement to distinguish it from the concept of "clothing." For example, consider how you would sign something like: "Is a dress your favorite piece of clothing?"  Yes? Then hurry up and get dressed in your dress!"  Sure that is a weird sentence but my point is that it is a way to practice and think about "how" you would sign such a sentence if you had to.

WINTER vs WEATHER:  I notice that you brought your hands downward when signing WINTER.  Actually WINTER doesn't bring the hands downward since that changes the sign into a version of WEATHER.

ON: While many Deaf do indeed do the generic "ON" sign for various reasons, I encourage you to consider how you would sign sentences without using "ON." For example, to sign "Do you like to watch movies with close captioning turned on?" you don't need to use the ON sign:  WATCH MOVIE, YOU LIKE CLOSE-CAPTION?  My point is that "ON" is a preposition that in ASL tends to literally mean that something is "on top of" something else.
However, in English the word "on" often functions in other ways such as "the meeting is on Tuesday."  Again, in the "real world" you will see some Deaf people using the sign "ON" for sentences such as, "PARTY? ON TUESDAY!" -- even though many ASL "teachers" don't like it used that way. Oh well.

START:  The tip of the index finger of the dominant hand should be between the index and middle fingers of the non-dominant 5-hand or modified-flat-hand.  You should not touch the tip of the index finger to the palm and  twist.  Instead, make sure that the tip of the dominant index-finger (or "1-handshape") does a turning movement while between the fingers of the other hand, not on the palm.

HOW-MUCH-[cost] When asking how much something costs -- you should avoid using a two-handed version of HOW-MANY.  Instead it is better to just do the one-handed version of HOW-MANY. 

14:  When signing the number "14" make sure to tuck in the thumb.

THIN: The sign for THIN tends to use a "G" hand.  The sign for SKINNY (which uses an "I" hand) is not the same.  For example, you can't use SKINNY to describe the thickness of a pizza.  Instead use one or both G hands to show how thick the pizza is. If the pizza is "very thick" you can switch to "C" hands.


Sentence Structure Issues
Consider the sentence: " When child which you prefer work at when you grow up?"

You signed:  WHEN CHILD WHICH YOU PREFER WORK AT WHEN YOU GROW-UP QM-WIG-(question-mark-wiggle)?

Now consider this structure instead:  PAST-[long-ago] YOURSELF LITTLE-GIRL/BOY WANT GROW-UP FUTURE what-DO?  (When you were a little girl/boy what did you want to be?)

My point is to make sure you are familiar with the "what-DO" sign and also to get in the habit of putting your WH-type questions at the end of your sentences. 

For example, You signed: WHAT YOUR FAVORITE BOOK NAME?

Instead try signing: YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, what-NAME?
Use slightly raised eyebrows for the first part of the sentence and then furrowed eyebrows for the second part of the sentence.

Your numbers were fine.  However you are using a regional variation for 16 -- 19. 
You are also using a "less advanced" version of 23 -29 than is used by many native Deaf adults.
Go to this link and watch the short video in the top right to see a bit more widely used version. This isn't a matter of right and wrong, just making sure you are aware of the more widely used version. In your area you should certainly use the version that local native Deaf adults are using:

So, if you have read this far and would like to get an even better handle on ASL signing structure, visit the following two links:

Again, I want to point out that it is obvious to me that you are a really good signer. The above tips and suggestions are simply to help you become an even better ASL signer.

Dr. Bill Vicars


REASON should use a small rotating movement.

CAR: make sure it doesn't look like WHICH. If in doubt, just spell CAR (it is short ).

HISTORY doesn't shift to the side. The movement just comes down then up then down (in place). If you shift the H to the side a bit on the second movement it changes to mean "HARD of HEARING."

PLUG: When signing "plug" use your dominant hand to do the plugging.

LIVE: Your version was ok. I'm just mentioning that eventually I'm going to stop teaching that version and only teach the "A" hand version of LIVE.

BIRTHDAY: should come down onto the non-dominant upper chest area (not the dominant side).

WHEN: The movement should be done by the dominant hand.

SEIZE-[takeover/arrest/lay-claim-to] vs TAKE-up-[adopt/evaporate]

HEARING: There are different ways to sign "hearing" depending on your meaning. The version done in front of the mouth by moving a horizontal 1-hand in a circle (twice) doesn't refer to the physical ability to hear but rather the state of being a "non-Deaf"-person, "culturally-Hearing," "a person who hears," or being a "hearing person." The sign also means "speak" and (in context) can mean "public" -- as in "a public school" (which is a school attended by people who speak). If instead you want to express the meaning of being able to "hear" you should use one of the versions of the sign for HEAR that are done near the ear.


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"Dear Dr. Bill, 

As I have been working hard on my video project I was wondering if you would be willing to watch my "draft" video and provide feedback in the ways in which I could make the video better? However, I understand if you are unable to do this as I am sure you have a lot of students! Thank you for all your help! 
(Name removed to protect the student's privacy.)"

Dear student,
The goal here is to see if you have "already" learned the material in the course -- not for me to polish up your signing to make it appear that you have mastered the course at a level that is not reflective of your actual abilities.
That question of "Is it good enough?" is what propels you to practice "more," rehearse "more," and do "more" until you feel "well, I've done as reasonably good as I can -- guess I'll submit it now for a grade."

If you were to do a draft version knowing that I'll fix whatever needs fixing before you turn it in for a grade you would be taking advantage of "my" knowledge -- not your own -- allowing you to "rest easy" rather than "study more."

Here is a list of the feedback that has been provided to other students on various video projects:

What we can do is you go ahead and do your video project and submit it to _______________________ (and cc me).  Within about 72 hours ________  will review your video and get back to you with feedback and a grade.
If you are unsatisfied with your video grade I'm willing to let you re-do and resubmit a different video using a different script.  

Warm regards,
Dr. Bill


William G. Vicars Ed.D.