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 l n r
Continuing characters: 2 3 f l n r t
Ending character: 2 3 4 f l n t
Minimum length: 3 characters
Uses: It shows the positions of the thumb and fingers on the right-hand

_l4iuqD = mine

open-B handshape _l4 = dominant open-B handshape (four fingers together and flat with palm)

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

Move onto body qD = move hand onto body (to chest)



_l4iuDh^z = happy

open-B handshape _l4 = open-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

Move onto body D = starting on body (to chest)

Palm In iu = palm facing in toward body

Move up h^ = move hand up

z = repeat movement (come back and move again)



\f4iuDhv = hungry

C handshape \f4 = C handshape

(presumed chest height)

Move onto body D = starting on body (to chest)

Palm In iu = palm facing in toward body

Move down hv = move down



2) NonDom-hand handshape
Starting character: _ \ c f l n r
Continuing characters: 2 3 4 f l n r t
Ending character: p
Minimum length: 4 characters
Uses: It shows the positions of the thumb and fingers on the left hand

clnp \fnq<bz = word

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

p = nondom-hand word

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

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

(presumed chest height)

Palm base-side (across body) (presumed dominant-hand palm facing nondom-side (across body) )

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

z = repeat movement (come back and touch again)



_l4u\p rn4jhvbqvA = help me

open-B handshape _l4 = nondom-hand open-B handshape

Palm up u\ =  nondom-hand palm up

p = nondom-hand word

open-A handshape rn4 = dominant-hand open-A handshape (all fingers closed to palm, thumb spread out)

(presumed chest height)

Palm base-side (across body) (presumeb dominant-hand palm facing nondom-side (across body) )

Move down to touch base-hand jhvb = starting with dominant-hand touching down on nondom-hand

qvA = both hands move in



_l4iu\p rt4iu\hvbz = money

open-B handshape _l4 = nondom-hand open-B handshape

Palm up iu\ = nondom-hand palm facing up

p = nondom-hand word

O handshape rt4 = dominant-hand O handshape (four fingers together and bent, first finger touching thumb)

(presumed chest height)

Palm up iu\ = dominant-hand palm facing up

Move down to touch base-hand hvb = move down to touch nondom-hand

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



3) Location
Starting character: ( D k w y
Continuing characters: h q
Ending character: ) ^ < > v
Minimum length: 0 characters
Uses: Dominant-hand location relative to body

cl4yDu\hvz = autumn

cl4 = fingerspelled B handshape

y = at elbow

D = starting on body (on elbow)

u\ = palm facing down

hv = move hand down

z = repeat (come back and move again)



_l4wq^z = lecture

open-B handshape _l4 = open-B handshape (nondom-hand is not used)

hand at forehead height w = forehead height

Palm base-side (across body) (presumed palm facing nondom-side)

Move out q^ = move hand out toward audience

z = repeat (come back and move again)



rt4()iuqDz = food

O handshape rt4 = O handshape (nondom-hand is not used)

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

Palm Iniu = palm facing in toward body

Move onto body qD = move hand onto body (mouth)

z = repeat action (come back and move again)



4) Palm facing
Starting character: i u
Continuing characters: g h q u
Ending character: \ ^ < > A S v
Minimum length: 0 characters
Uses: Direction to face the palms and point the fingers or knuckles


_l4uq^ = yours

open-B handshape_l4 = open-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

Palm out u = palm facing out toward audience

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



clnq^ = you

1 handshape cln = 1 handshape

(presumed chest height)

Palm base-side (across body) (presumed palm facing nondom side)

Move out q^ = move hand out toward audience



_f4Aghvq<S = introduce

_f4A = nondom-hand matches; dominant hand bent-B handshape

ghv = nondom-hand palm opposing; dominant-hand palm nondom side with knuckles turned down

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



5) Touch or Distance
Starting character: j
Continuing character: h q
Ending character: ^ < > b e r v
Minimum length: 0
Uses: dominant-hand relative to nondom-hand

_l4u\Ajh^q^ = enter

open-B handshape _l4 = nondom-hand matches; dominant-hand open-B handshape

(presumed chest height)

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

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

Move out q^ = move dominant-hand out


\fu4u\Ajh^q<gqvz = above

5 handshape\fu4  = 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 u\A = nondom-hand matches; dominant-hand palm facing down

Wide-hand farther up from base-hand jh^ = starting with dominant-hand farther up from nondom-hand

Move base-side q<gqv = move dominant-hand to nondom-side (across body) circling inward (toward body)

z = repeat movement (come back and move again)


cn4bq^A = continue

cn4 = bent-A handshape

b = starting with hands touching

q^A - both hands move out



6) Movement
Starting character: q h
Continuing characters: \ )
Ending character: ~ ^ < > A b D S v
Minimum length: 2
Uses: Shows the dominant-hand movement or both hands' movements



rn4Aq^zS = race

rn4A = A handshape on both hands

(presumed chest height)

(presumed 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)



cfnwiuq<)hv = consider

cfn = bent-1 handshape

w = forehead height

iu = palm in

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



\f4kq<Dq>\hv = Christ

\f4 = C handshape

(presumed chest height)

(presumed palm-facing non-dom side)

kq<D = starting on body nondom-side of chest (across body)

q>\hv = move dominant-side angled down



_l4p _lnq<bq> = illegal

4l_ = nondom-hand B handshape

_l

(presumed nondom-hand palm opposes (facing each other);

qb< = move dominant-hand toward nondom-side to touch nondom-hand

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


_lu4qD~ = fancy

_lu4 = 5 handshape

(default palm facing opposite side)

qD = move hand onto body (to chest)

~ = wiggle fingers



7) Ending handshape or palm facing
Starting character: o
Continuing characters: handshape or palm facing
Minimum length: 3 characters
Uses: Shows the fingers bent into a new handshape or the wrist twisted into a new palm facing direction


\fu4wiuq^rf4  = out

\fu4 = claw-5 handshape

w = forehead height

iu = palm in

q^ = move out

rf4 = change to O handshape




cln()uo = first


cln = 1 handshape

() = chin height

u = palm facing out

o = twist at wrist until palm facing nondom-side (across body)



8) Repetition
Starting character: z
Continuing characters: \ h q
Ending character: ^ < > v x
Uses: Shows the movement occurs more than once in place or along a direction line


_l4u\Sqhvbz = school

_l4 = non-dom-hand matches; open-B handshape

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

qhvb = move down to touch nondom-hand

z = repeat movement (come back and move again)


cfnwiuqDx rtl3qvA = decide

cfn = bent-1 handshape

w = forehead height

iu = palm facing in

qD = move to touch body

x = compound word

rtl3 = F handshape

(default palm facing opposite side)

qvA = both hands move down



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

%wD #VP = Vice President
% = fingerspelling hand placement indicator
hand at forehead height w = forehead height

Move onto body D = 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: m
Continuing character: - c h q
Ending character: ^ < > v
Description: Describe body language

eyes looking right mq= looking and signing to the dominant side

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

mq<> = shaking head side to side

mh^v = nodding head up and down

mcv = move slowly

mc^ = 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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