Introduction to ASL Gloss | ASL – American Sign Language
August 6, 2019
Hello. The language of ASL is not designed to be written. ASL is meant to be signed and seen that way. Writing is a different modality. It written this way, line by line. Some writing systems go down or backwards. But usually all of these are linear. ASL is a 3-D language with multiple information being conveyed simultaneously. Writing is linear and goes in one direction. ASL is spatial. So how do we convert that information to the linear fashion? It’s hard to do. That is why some people struggle to establish ASL writing systems. There are some ASL writing systems that have been developed out there. Like Si5S and ASLwrite. And several others. But are these widespread? Do many people know about it? Uh, not really. No. Many ASL students who try these ASL writing systems struggle with learning a new and complicated approach. There is an easier way to “write” ASL. That is called ASL Gloss. Gloss means that we borrow from the English language. To show the words. Its purpose is to help ASL students to see things clearly They see the differences between the sentence structure of English and ASL. They can look at both languages and compare. Then translate between the two languages. That is the purpose of ASL Gloss. So does that mean you could develop a mindset that are ASL sign equivalents for English words? No, that is not the case. Take caution. The purpose of ASL Gloss is to show how to translate between the two languages. So as you learn ASL, writing in ASL Gloss may help you process language. How to follow ASL grammar rules. As long as you do the work and practice, you will become fluent. Now, I am going to tell you the three basic rules of ASL Gloss. The three basic rules of ASL Gloss are 1) Any sign tends to be written in ALL-CAPS. You know how ALL-CAPS look like. Its larger. Why do we make it ALL-CAPS? You know how the English language is not ALL-CAPS, only some are capitalized. You know how when someone types in ALL-CAPS it means yelling. You know how that looks like when you text or type in ALL-CAPS. That means the person is yelling. You would tell that person to chill. But in ASL Gloss, the ALL-CAPS means signs. And these words being larger makes it distinct from the normal written English language. So that is for the number one, make the signs/words ALL-CAPS. 2) Fingerspelling. You know how some signs or words are fingerspelled. How do we show that it is fingerspelled? What we do with these words, we add fs- in the beginning. You could add fs- before a word, like for example. You see that fs- is added over there. You could also add a hashtag before the word, like this. So these are the two different ways you can show that the word is fingerspelled. These are widely used. 3) You know how some signs mean one word in English. That is true for only some of the signs, and some signs mean two words or more in English. These multiple English words mean one sign. How do we show that the combination of these 2, 3, or 4 English words make up the ASL sign? We use the dash. You know, like for example, the sign for THANK-YOU. The sign THANK-YOU has two English words THANK and YOU. You can see that. Since the two words THANK and YOU makes up one sign, put a dash in between these two words to combine these. You know, like… here’s another example, UNDERSTAND. UNDERSTAND is one word, as you can see over there. You see one word over there. UNDERSTAND. Now, watch this. DON’T-UNDERSTAND. You see two words. That means DON’T-UNDERSTAND. We put in a dash in between these words, and put these together to make a compound word to mean one sign. Like DON’T-UNDERSTAND. Okay, now do you understand? Okay now let’s go through these rules again. 1) Signs tend to be in ALL-CAPS. 2) When a sign is fingerspelled, put fs-____ or #____ before the word. 3) Any sign that have 2, 3, 4 English words, use dash to group these together. That will become one sign in ASL. Okay, good.