Altitude Attitude

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Native ASL signers tend to make their signs less stressful on their bodies by avoiding twisting their wrists or using their shoulders.  This can make it harder to recognize certain signs.  Some people call this "lazy signing," but such compromises are necessary when you use your arms to communicate ideas.  A living language undergoes change.

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The majority of ASL words have one or both hands in front of the chest.  Though any location within reach is possible to use in conversation, most words are located near the forehead, neck / chin, chest, or elbow.


jf4WiUqD = know

_f4 = bent-B handshape

hand at forehead height  W = forehead height

iU = palm in

qD = move hand onto body (to forehead)  hand on forehead



clu2WKhvDiUcfu2z = doubt

clu2 = V handshape

hand at forehead height W = forehead height

   WKhv = slightly down from height (to eyes) hand at eye height

D = on body (close to eye) hand on right eye

iU = palm in

cfu2 = change to bent-V handshape

z = repeat action (straighten then bend again)



clnCKh^Dq<z = mouse

cln= 1 handshape
C = neck / chin height hand at neck / chin height
   CKh^ = slightly up from height (to nose) hand at nose height

D = on body (to nose) hand on nose

(presumed palm nondom-side)

q< = move in palm facing direction (nondom-side)

z = repeat action (come back then move again)



cf4CDq< = lie

cf4 = bent-B handshape

hand at neck / chin height C = neck / chin height

D = on body (to chin) hand on neck / chin

(presume palm nondom-side)

q< = move toward nondom-side



jl4CiUqvjf4 = in the past

jl4 = open-B handshape

hand at neck / chin height C = neck / chin height

iU = palm in

qv = move in

jf4 = change handshape to bent-B



jl4iU\q<)qv = here

jl4 = open-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

iU\ = palm up

q<)qv = move nondom-side circling in



rfl3AhvzS = judge


rfl3 = F handshape

A = nondom-handshape matches

(presumed chest height)

(presumed palms facing across body)

hv = nondom-hand up, dominant-hand down (move hands past each other)

zS = repeat action switching hands



clnAhvB = correct / right

cln = 1 handshape

A = nondom-handshape matches

(presumed chest height)

(presumed palms facing across body)

hvB = touch down onto nondom-hand



cfnDiUq< = we / us

cfn = bent-1 handshape

(presumed chest height)

D = on body (to chest)

iU = palm in

q< = move left



jf4CKh^iUqDAx jf4Uq>S = angel

jf4 = bent-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

CKh^ = slightly up from height (to shoulder)

iU = both palms in

qDA = move both hands onto body (to shoulder)

x = compound word

jf4 = bent-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

U = both palms out

q>S = nondom-hand move nondom-side, dominant-hand move dominant-side (move hands apart)



yfu4YKh^iUqD = power

yfu4 = claw-5 handshape

hand at elbow height Y = at elbow
   YKh^ = slightly up from height (to upper arm)

iU = palm in

qD = move onto body (to upper arm)



cl4YDU\hvz = autumn / fall


cl4 = B handshape

hand at elbow heightY = elbow area
    D = on body (to elbow) hand on elbow

U\ = palm down

hv = move toward palm facing direction

z = repeat action

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