How It Works

Back to ASLSJ Instruction         Eye Word Spelling

ASL has an inventory of generally recognized ASL words using specific handshapes at specific locations, but peoples' actual signs can be quite varied.  Just like pace, pitch and pausing in written English, ASLSJ can only hint at how fast something is signed, how many times it is repeated, or what facial / body expressions are used.

ASLSJ breaks ASL words into a sequential pattern for writing.  These syllables are in groups separated by a period.  Before the period is the initial hand placement.  After the period is the movement and possibly the ending hand placement.


Sections:

1) Handshape
2) NonDom-hand* handshape
3) Location
4) Palm facing
5) Touch or Distance
6) Movement
7) Ending handshape or palm facing
8) Repetition
9) Finger spelling
10) Body tilt, eye gaze, head nod / shake, movement speed



1) Handshape
Starting character: _ c f i l n r
Uses: It shows the positions of the thumb and fingers on the right-hand

_llll
__ll . [+] = mine

open-B handshape _llll = dominant open-B handshape (four fingers together and flat with palm)

(presumed chest height)
Palm In __ll = palm facing in toward body

Move onto body . [+] = move hand onto body (to chest)



_llll
__ll [+] . i^ Z = happy

open-B handshape _llll = open-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

Move onto body [+] = on body (to chest)

Palm In __ll = palm facing in toward body

Move up . i^ = move hand up

Z = repeat movement (come back and move again)



\ffff
__ff  [+] . iv = hungry

C handshape \ffff = C handshape

(presumed chest height)

Move onto body [+] = on body (to chest)

Palm In __ff = palm facing in toward body

Move down . iv = move down



2) NonDom-hand handshape
Starting character: _ c f i l n r
Uses: It shows the positions of the thumb and fingers on the left hand

nnnlc \fnnn
S       \l\       . #q< Z = word

1 handshape nnnlc = nondom-hand 1 handshape (first finger extended flat with palm)

Base-hand palm wide-side (across body) S- = nondom-hand palm facing opposite of dominant-hand (across body)

G handshape \fnnn = dominant-hand G handshape (first finger and thumb bent)

(presumed chest height)

Palm base-side (across body) \l\ = dominant-hand palm facing nondom-side (across body)y 

. #q< = move dominant hand nondom-side (across body) to touch nondom-hand

Z = repeat movement (come back and touch again)



llll_  innnn
/ll_/ \l\    #iv . A qv = help me

open-B handshape llll_ = nondom-hand open-B handshape

Palm up /ll_/ =  nondom-hand palm up

open-A handshape innnn = dominant-hand open-A handshape (all fingers closed to palm, thumb spread out)

(presumed chest height)

Palm base-side (across body) \l\ = dominant-hand palm facing nondom-side (across body)

Move down to touch base-hand #qv = dominant-hand touching down on nondom-hand

. A iv = both hands move in



llll_  rffff
A     \_ll\ . #iv Z = money

open-B handshape llll_ = nondom-hand open-B handshape

Palm up A = nondom-hand palm facing matches dominant-hand

O handshape rffff = dominant-hand O handshape (four fingers together and bent, first finger touching thumb)

(presumed chest height)

Palm up \_ff\ = dominant-hand palm facing up

Move down to touch base-hand . #iv = move down to touch nondom-hand

Z = repeat the movement  (come back and touch again)



3) Location
Starting characters: W M ( ) = \
Uses: Dominant-hand location relative to body

cllll  \\_-
\__\ [+] . iv Z = autumn

cllll = fingerspelled B handshape

\\_- = at elbow

[+] = on body (on elbow)

\__\ = palm facing down

. iv = move hand in same direction as palm facing (down)

Z = repeat (come back and move again)



_llll W_\M
\l\           . q^ Z = lecture

open-B handshape _llll = open-B handshape (nondom-hand is not used)

hand at forehead height W_\M = forehead height

Palm base-side (across body) \l\ = palm facing nondom-side

Move out . q^ = move hand out toward audience

Z = repeat (come back and move again)



rffff (_\)
__ll       . [+] Z = food

O handshape rffff = O handshape (nondom-hand is not used)

hand at neck / chin height (_\) = chin / neck height

Palm In__ll = palm facing in toward body

Move onto body . [+] = move hand onto body

Z = repeat action (come back and move again)



4) Palm facing
Starting character: l \ / _
Uses: Direction to face the palms and point the fingers or knuckles


_llll
l__l . q^ = yours

open-B handshape_llll = open-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

Palm out l__l = palm facing out toward audience

Move out . q^ = move hand in same direction as palm facing (out)



clnnn
\l\     . q^ = you

1 handshape clnnn = 1 handshape

(presumed chest height)

Palm base-side (across body) \l\ = palm facing nondom side

Move out . q^ = move hand out toward audience



A _ffff
S \l\(iv . S q< = introduce

A _ffff = nondom-hand matches; dominant hand bent-B handshape

S \l\(iv = nondom-hand palm opposing; dominant-hand palm nondom side with knuckles turned down

. S q< = nondom-hand move opposing; dominant-hand move nondom side (toward each other)



5) Touch or Distance
Starting character: # -
Uses: dominant-hand relative to nondom-hand

A  _llll
A \__\ #i^ . q^ = enter

open-B handshape A _llll = nondom-hand matches; dominant-hand open-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

Base-hand palm down Palm down A \__\ = nondom-hand matches; dominant-hand palm facing down

Move up to touch base-hand #i^ = dominant-hand touching up to nondom-hand

Move out . q^ = move dominant-hand out



A \ufufuff
A \__\      -i^- . q< Z = above

5 handshapeA \ufufuff = nondom-hand matches; dominant-hand 5 handshapes (four fingers and thumb spread apart flat with palm)

(presumed chest height)

Base-hand palm down Palm down A \__\ = nondom-hand matches; dominant-hand palm facing down

Wide-hand farther up from base-hand -i^- = dominant-hand farther up from nondom-hand

Move base-side . q< = move dominant-hand to nondom-side (across body)

Z = repeat movement (come back and move again)



6) Movement
Movement characters: q i D
Uses: Shows the dominant-hand movement or both hands' movements



A innnn
S \l\     . q^ ZS = race

nnnni innnn = A handshape

(presumed chest height)

S \l\ = nondom-hand palm dominant-side; dominant-hand palm nondom-side (facing each other)

. q^ = dominant-hand moves out

ZS = repeat movement with opposing hands (nondom-hand moves and dominant-hand returns)



clnnn W_\M
__nl           . q<(iv = consider

clnnn = 1 handshape

W_\M = forehead height

__ll = palm in

. q<(lv = move nondom-side (across body) and circle down



\ffff =/_=
\l\   [+]  . -->\lv = Christ

\ffff = C handshape

(presumed chest height)

=/_= = nondom-side of chest (across body)

[+] = on body (to chest)

. q>\iv = move dominant-side angled down



7) Ending handshape or palm facing
Starting character: _ c f i l n
Uses: Shows the fingers bent into a new handshape or the wrist twisted into a new palm facing direction


\ufufuff W_\M . rffff
__ll                . q^  = out

\ufufuff = claw-5 handshape

W_\M = forehead height

rffff = change to O handshape

__ll = palm in

. q^ = move out




clnnn W_\M
l__l            . \l\ = first


clnnn = 1 handshape

W_\M = forehead height

l__l = palm facing out

. \l\ = twist at wrist until palm facing nondom-side (across body)


8) Repetition
Starting character: Z ) <
Uses: Shows the movement occurs more than once, or gets undone


A  _llll
A \__\ . #iv Z = school

A _llll = non-dom-hand matches; open-B handshape

S \__\ = nondom-hand palm opposing; dominant-hand palm-down (facing each other)

#iv = move down to touch nondom-hand

Z = repeat movement (come back and move again)



llll_ _lnnn
S    \l\     . #q< . q> = illegal

llll_ = nondom-hand B handshape

_lnnn = dominant-hand L handshape

\l\ = nondom-hand palm opposes (facing each other); dominant-hand palm facing nondom-side (across body)

. #q< = move dominant-hand toward nondom-side to touch nondom-hand

. q> = move dominant-hand toward dominant-side (undo movement)



9) Finger spelling
Starting character: ALL CAPS WORDS or %
Uses: A spelled-out English word using the ASL manual alphabet

SOON = English word "soon"
-Soon = fingerspell letters S, O, O, N

%W_\M [+] %VP = Vice President
% = hand placement indicator
hand at forehead height W_\M = forehead height

Move onto body [+] = on body (to forehead)hand on forehead

%VP = fingerspell letters V then P



10) Body tilt, eye gaze, head nod / shake, movement speed
Starting character: ' c
Description: Describe body language

eyes looking right ''--> = looking and signing to the dominant side

eyes looking left <--'' = looking and signing to the non-dominant side

''--() = shaking head side to side

''--^v = nodding head up and down

cc--= = move slowly

cc--# = move hands fast



* The technical terms "Dominant Hand" and "Non-Dominant Hand" for most people mean their right hand and left hand respectively.  For Left-handed people, their left hand is their Dominant-hand, and their right hand is their Non-Dominant-hand. I use the abbreviation NonDom for the term Non-Dominant.

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