Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Common ASL Mistakes


Hi guys! so you guys wanted me to make a video
with just some common ASL mistakes that Ive seen. Just to clarify before I start this.
I have made all of these mistakes. The only reason I’ve learned from this is from the
comments. If I say anything that isn’t true or you learned differently. Write it down
in the comments below! because Im not a teacher. I dont know sign language. I am self taught.
The only thing I know is from past experience. So yeah! Okay! Lets get started! From what
I can tell, there are 5 things you need to watch out for when you are learning a sign.
The first one is Hand Shape. What exact hand shape is the sign using? Is it using a letter?
what letter is it? is it using a number shape? what number is it? Identify the hand shape
first! The second one is your position.Where is your hand in relation to your body? Is
it in front of you? Is it to your side? Is it next to your chin or your head? Those are
important! and like the sign for “Pink” and the sign for “Penis” Its just hand position.
The 3rd thing you need to watch out for is Motion. What exact motion is the sign using?
Is it doing a circular motion? Is it doing a up-and-down, forward back kinda thing? Know
exactly which direction its going when you look up the sign because I’ve signed a lot
of things wrong just because i signed it going the wrong way. The 4th thing is context. Make
sure when you look up a sign you are looking up the meaning of the word not just the word
its self. Things like “Love”. There are 2 signs for “love” in sign language and they
mean two different things. In English you’d say love for both but in sign language you’d
sign something different depending on what you mean. SO make sure the context is also
what you’re looking for when you look up signs. The last one is Facials. Sometimes ive made
mistakes because I signed a word and the word was confusing because my facials didn’t match
the sign. So make sure you watch out for that too. Now I’m going to go through and list
10 mistakes thatI see a lot. Also mistakes that I’ve made in the past. So lets get started!
Number 1!The sign for “Meet” and the sign for “Sex”. “meet” put one finger up and then
one finger goes towards the other. “Sex” Is a 2 hand shape or a “V” hand shape. They are
very similar, but they mean very different things. So make sure you watch out for that
one. Number 2. Thank you vs. F*ck you. The signs are really similar.The thing that separates
the two is your hand position. So for thank you, you put your hand on your chin and you
bring it out. For F*ck you, you put your hand under your chin, and you bring it out. The
little bitty position difference, makes a huge difference. Be careful not to make that
one. Thats a awkward mistake to make. Number 3! The two versions of “love” I mentioned
this before. One kind of love is the romantic kind of love. Or affectionate kind of love.
Like how You love your family or how you love a spouse our boyfriend,/ girlfriend kinda
thing. That kind of “love” is this. Now if I say I love cats or I love cake. I would
use this sign. This is that kind of love. They are two different meanings. You cant
that you “love” pie. You don’t love pie romantically so. Watch out for that one. Number 4! I vs
My and You and Your. So the signs for possession and the signs for just being are two different
things. The sign for I (this is one that I saw a lot in my Helping hands videos, the
submissions) “I” you point to yourself. Point. Flat hand is “my” possessive. Like this is
my school ID. You cant like, this is I school ID. You say this is mine and Vice versa. You
dont say is it too late now my say sorry. That doesn’t make sense. So make sure you
watch out for that one. I my. And your and you are the same thing. One is a point and
the other one is a flat hand. The flat hand one is possessive. Your. Your house. Your.
Okay! Number 5! The word when!We use it for so many different meanings in English, but
in sign language there are different signs for them. When you are saying “when” as in
a question kinda thing as in a time. Like “when are you going to the mall ” or ” when
do you have class” Then you would sign this one. Its like you go around a clock. When.
as in time. When you are signing something that has happened in the past like when you
are saying “when I was young”or “when I did that” something that has already happened.
You sign “Happen”. You don’t sign this “when”. That doesn’t make sense in sign language.
You would use “Happen” instead. The best way to remember that is if you can replace the
word when with “had happened ” or “has happened”Then you would use the sign “happen”. I made that
mistake for a really long time until someone finally pointed it out. Number 6! The difference
between Make, cause, and Force. When you “make” something its like you have made it. You have
produced it. You made that. You made that pie. But you dont “make” someone happy. Thats
a different type of “make”. You didn’t make that, you caused it. The sign for “cause”is
two closed fists and then you open them and bring it out. “Cause”. So you can cause someone
happiness but you can’t make them happy. That doesn’t make sense. The next one is “make”
as in “I made her do that” You forced it. Then you would use the sign force, not make.
You didn’t make anything. I made that mistake for a really long time. Make sure when you
use the word Make, Because we use it in English for a lot of different things, But the only
time you use this form of Make is if you’re actually making something! Yeah! Not if youre
causing or forcing or doing something. Those are different signs. Number 7! We’re on 7
right? Yeah! 7!. The difference between Need, Should, and Question or Ask. This was a huge
issue in my Helping hands videos. A lot of you made it. The difference between Need and
Should is repetition. Or motion. Need, this is all “X” hand shape, but need is once. You
go down. once. The motion has no repetition. You go down once. Should has repetition. You
go down more than once and you have like a kinda question-y expression. facials are a
little different. Question, you dont start with the “X” hand shape, you bring it down
to the “X” hand shape. Like a question. and repetition. Question! What number is this…
8? Yeah! 8!The difference between Think and Know!Think!one finger. You think. Know, your
whole hand. Know. Think… Know. Next! Number 9!The difference between Happy and Young.
I used to make this mistake all the time. The difference between Happy is position and
a bit hand shape too. So flat hands on your chest and you bring it up. You kind of pat
it and bring it up. Happy. Young, you curve your hands just a little bit. See curve. and
its on your shoulders. Young. Next!Number ten! Last one! Is the difference between Only
and Always. I actually learned this one, kinda recently. So for Only, You are going to start
with your palm facing out. Then you make a circle and your palm faces forward at the
end. Only. Always, You start with your palm facing yourself. Like this. And you make the
circle but dont turn your wrist. Thats all for today!I have made so many more mistakes
than that!But those are the ones that i see all the time and ones that I made a lot before
ppl pointed them out. Once again! Im not a teacher! These are just mistakes that I’ve
made and ppl have corrected for me. So Im not a teacher!Not a teacher! Okay!. If you
have any questions about your helping hands submissions feel free to email me. I will
gladly email you back with any mistakes that noticed from your submission. A lot of these
were probably on them. So rewatch your video submissions to see if you made any of these
mistakes. Im going to post videos kinda like this one, where Im not really signing a cover,
every monday! Im gonna probably call them Me Mondays because its just gonna be me! Let
me know any other kinds of videos you want me to make or questions you have, any comments,
did I say anything wrong?Was anything I showed you wrong. Let me know!Because I learn from
you guys and you learn from me. its like a weird group education thing we got going here.
I like it. Thanks for watching! Love you guys! Bye!

99 Replies to “Common ASL Mistakes”

  • My ASL teacher also said that people (I also did it) mix up meet and date. People will bring two d's together for meet, but that's date. The proper sign for meet is the way you signed it in your video. And party vs people is another problem.

  • Just to let you know there was still some mistakes that I need the video. The first one is not a mistake. It's more of one more sign. #4 there is one sign that you could. It is the sign for "i" and to the bring to you. #7 need is twice, should is once, must is a hard once, ask is right, ? draw it in the air. #10 only is right but you have to do it close to your body, you are 100% right on always, someone is the same as only but you do it to someone of to the side.

  • Hey ASL Anissa this was a great video to watch and see what mistakes people. I did notice that you said need is only once and it's not its sign repeats and it's a fast motion. The sign that is only once is must. Just trying to help a fellow ASL student.

  • Hey, so like some have said. Those are the 5 parameters of ASL and they are very important. Also your example of penis and pink, those are called minimal pairs. Minimal pairs are where one thing is different with the two signs. So mom and dad, the location is different. There are hundreds of examples but that is one that most use… Also need is twice, must is once and should is usually two with that facial expression you were describing. Just thought I'd help out :).

    I'm an ASL III student in college with Deaf teachers and Deaf friends.

  • Since a few people have said it I signed "Need" wrong, I think it may be a regional thing. So I guess facials for that sign are really important. This is where I got the "Need" I signed

    http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/n/need.htm

  • Very helpful! Thank you, especially for the thank you and f*ck you one… I… I realize why that kid glared at me now…. ๐Ÿ™

  • For the second version of love. Are you using the idiom? Also used as precious? I just learned that one a different way. The way I use it is a 5 handshape into an s handshape. Kind of pulling your hand down by your chin keeping your palm facing you.

  • a good example for motion parameter is "chocolate" vs "church"
    Chocolate makes a circular motion
    Church goes up and down
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Another mistake is "sex" vs "rubber"
    And word order is always a mistake. OSV/OVS is the word order.
    STORE I GO (ASL), not I GO STORE (Signed English).

  • hi. I was watching your video and first off I must say you do a wonderful job with your videos. B E A Utiful.

    secondly. your number 4 mistake. everything is right but it should be the difference between me and my not I and my. when you point to yourself it translates to me in ASL. everything else is good. just wanted to share that bit.

  • It's always nice to see others who want to make sure the signs have the right concept, and when they're wrong they will admit it.
    I've read most of the comments and haven't seen anyone bring up your #1 for sex…as in the way you signed it. A person needs to be very careful when using that sign for sex as it tends to mean f*ck. There are a couple of other signs for sex that is more broadly used and accepted that wouldn't be offensive. While on this topic, you'll see people sign passionate by using the "I love you" sign with both hands and bringing them together, slightly tilted going in a circular motion.
    #8, "Know" is correct. "Think" as you showed depends on context. As in, "I think I finished." More often that sign is used as "thought." Also, if you use that sign in a circular motion at your temple it is "think" or "thinking."
    #6, finally someone who showed the difference! Kudos to you!

  • Actually I've been taught by my ASL teacher that you can sign love as the first one you demonstrated. The other one is not another sign for live but you kiss you hand and pull it away and that is the sign for love it. Not love. Just clarifying ๐Ÿ™‚

  • This was extremely helpful! Thank you. I, too, am teaching myself sign language. I have been self-teaching for about 1 1/2 years.

  • Thank you so much for making this video, I learned so much. I've been teaching myself sign for a few years now, I don't do much ASL, I mostly do SEE, some people say it's the same thing and others don't but your videos are amazing. I've learned a lot from you.

  • Thank you for all the vids you make. I've watched you from the original PSE and have seen your journey to ASL. I've seen you learn and grow and share that knowledge with others. It's impressive, your drive to continue, though sometimes the comments are less than helpful (or polite). It inspires me. Bravo.

  • Hey this was helpful as I am trying to teach myself and my sister. How long did it take before you were more fluent?I have been practicing but I'm still slow and don't know that many signs yet ๐Ÿ™ .

  • Thank you your awesome!!! I've been trying to figure out need and should, always and only!!! its can be so confusing… and if you put a nicer background on vedio, for some reason it makes the video cooler. true story

  • I love your videos, and this one really did help me, but just pointing out, you changes the camera angles WAY too many time in this video

  • great job! even more amazing since youre self taught. the movement on "when" should follow hands on a clock circle (hope that makes sense) instead of circling the top of your "1 hand"

  • your second sign for love is actually a idiom it is kiss-fist and it means really love something such as like family or friends and the first love you did would be for like a cat or something

  • your second sign for love is actually a idiom it is kiss-fist and it means really love something such as like family or friends and the first love you did would be for like a cat or something

  • I've made a lot of mistakes already. and I know I have, thank God there is such thing as improving!!! this video definitely helps! and I am self taught as well.

  • I am glad to see that you are admitting to mistakes and are even pointing them out and showing the correct way. Keep up the good work and even some of us that use ASL daily make mistakes I am HOH with Deaf family and have said a few things wrong to my dad and he has done the same to me. Mistakes happen being willing to learn and fix is what matters.

  • i thought that happy was at the shoulders but with flat hands?? like that's the only way i've seen/learned it. are there different signs for it or have i just been doing it wrong?

  • I have seen people using thumb, index finger, and little finger pointed out as the sign for LOVE. Is it correct or not?

  • Some other mistakes my ASL teacher told us to watch for

    Help vs fart (difference in which hand has a thumbs up and which hand is moving)
    Partner vs squirrel (the difference of straight vs bent fingers)
    Rude vs naked (difference of palm orientation)

    Also, the signs for wrestling and football are similar, and summer and ugly. I don't think anyone in my class has made these mistakes, but my teacher usually mentions signs that are similar to whatever signs we're learning. Help was one of the first ones XD

    It's also a good thing for people to remember that ASL isn't signing a word, it's signing the meaning of a word.

  • You should've said that people sign shoot my heart instead of I. Also, you signed the numbers facing outwards for 1-5 instead of in. I learned to sign an actual question mark parallel to the ground from my non dominant hand for when.

  • Now I'm terrified I'll use one of these wrong while talking to someone in ASL. It'll (hopefully) give us a good laugh though!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Ok but you're absolutely gorgeous. Also who's bright idea was it to make the sign for thank you and the one for fuck you so simiar?๐Ÿ˜‚

  • omg when you held up your ID I had to pause the video… we went to the same university ๐Ÿ™‚ I graduated in 2014!

  • awesome! I just started learning and I need more of these!!! its a lot easier to find out how to do something than it is to find out how not to.

  • When signing the word WHEN in ASL the pointer on non-dominant hand is not pointing up but it should be straight across as if pointing to the person right next to you for example if my non dominate hand is my left my pointer finger should be point to the "person" on my right not straight in the air. And the LOVE thing is technically true but not also. The love with a close fist coming from the mouth is more like your obsessed with it kind of love where LOVE with arms crossing which is the same sign for hug can me relationship or something you enjoy doing immensely.

  • Need is repetitive as well as should. Both have the same movement, handshapes, locations, and palm orientation but they have different facial expressions. For need, you make the shape "eee" with your mouth, and for should, "you make the shape "shhh" with your mouth.

  • I cannot do numbers to save my life haha. After 5 I'm lost lol. And I have been using them since I was 7 but I just finger spell the number xD

  • Have you done / Can you make / Do you know a good video for basic signs that someone in the service industry should be familiar with? I work as a cashier at a small grocery store and a couple of our regulars are deaf. Their kids translate for us, but I still feel bad for mostly addressing a child rather than the adult. All I know at this point is "hello" and "thank you", but I feel like there should be more I can reasonably be expected to understand given how often I interact with them. I've tried looking things up, but it's hard to follow still pictures and a lot of videos I've found don't show the signs at an angle or a speed where I can clearly see the shape and movement involved.

  • I think that FU sign is traditional Italian. After that you'll need to know the difference between stand up and shut up.

  • You're so amazing at this! I am learning more and more! I am very grateful you are teaching ASL! Keep up the good work! Love you! โค

  • I know itโ€™s ASL and you did a great job but because of my Cerebral palsy I sign with only one hand which sometimes confuses people

  • girly your so right about this! I make mistakes of hand positions all the time! becarful of not saying pregnant for welcome I've done this at the doctors office lol

  • There's a 3rd sign for love that's more for when u really love someone or something. It's a closed fist to ur mouth kissing ur fist. Also translate to "crazy about"

  • Thank u so much! I had been confused on a lot of these n on the love ones I saw people do the fist outward sign for โ€œloving pieโ€ type thing, but never knew what it meant! Thx!

  • When I sow you video I remembered when I was learning Brazilian sign language, and I make so much mistakes, but this is part of learning experience. Now I'm learning ASL and I know I'll make many mistakes, but that is ok, I'll correct this lol . Congratulations for you great video.

  • Um… That's kinda too awkward ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    Okay, in German sign language the signs for "decide" and "slut" are very similar, so…. yeah๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    I'll try to describe how to do the signs.
    Ummm… I don't know asl so I cannot compare it to any signs… But I'll try.

    You hold your flat hand in front of you with the thumb up. So it is like a thumbs up but your hand is "open".
    Your other hand (in my case it's my right one) – same hand shape and you move your right hand over your left hand back and forth.

    I hope I explained it well so that you could understand it, but you better google it๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ So that would be the sign for DECIDE.

    For the sign for "slut" you also move your right hand back and forth over your left hand (same hand shape as for "decide") but you kinda tip your hand in the direction you're moving.

    Was that understandable???
    Was that even right??๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I learned it like that๐Ÿค”

    Good night๐Ÿ˜Š

  • You look like a teacher in my school in the thumbnail๐Ÿ™Š Everytime I see the the thumbnail I see her ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Omg… New SUBBIE I love the way you sign you are giving me my life back as far as going back to my love which is signing ( asl) ilysm thank you for your videos โค

  • Isnt the sign for need twice (repetition) and the sign for should is once! At least that was what was taught to me in my ASL class

  • 3:46 ,Pointing to yourself can be interpreted as ''I''. The sign for "I" as in self is 'I' sign facing palm out to your chest. A flat hand to yourself is the sign for 'me' and also the sign for 'mine'.
    Or at least that's how I learned it.

  • 7:30 the way I was taught happy and young is that they are basically the same sign except you can do young multiple times in small repetitions (or once) and happy is big and you smile. Both are from the shoulders. I was told that this is because young people are 'happy'.

  • Thank you so much! I've been learning sign alone from the internet since nobody I know uses sign much, and I was making a lot of these mistakes! Now I can make at least some fewer mistakes in my sign, so I'm not learning those wrong, and I can understand better when I see signs in videos or when someday I meet someone who knows more than I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • My sister was trying to sign that she'd be catching the ferry boat at 2:00. She accidentally told her ASL teacher that she'd be riding the vagina at 2:00. It took a while for the teacher to stop laughing enough to explain the mistake. Wrong boat-shaped sign.

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