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How To Learn Sign Language

Left vs. Right Hand – Using Your Dominant Hand | ASL – American Sign Language


Hello! For those of you who are learning ASL maybe some of you are confused with which hand to sign with. I get that. As for myself, because I write, eat, and shoot basketball with my right hand, I am right-handed. Some of you are left-handed, right? And some right-handed. It is important that you know which hand. Your dominant hand is the one you should use. Use it for fingerspelling. I’m right-handed, so I use my right hand to fingerspell. You know, for example, “My name is Joe.” If you are left-handed, sign with your left hand like this. You see this, not using the right hand, but left hand like this, tapping on the right hand. Because I am right-handed, I sign NAME like this, so for those of you that are left-handed, sign NAME like this. “My name is Joe” example using your left hand. “My name is Joe.” using your right hand as an example. For left-hand, sign “My name is Joe.” like this. Okay, good? Now you see the difference between using the right and left hands. If you switch back and forth between your hands, like this example for “My name is Joe,” don’t do that. Use your dominant hand like this, “My name…” In some two-handed signs, you will see that one hand stays and one hand moves. Like for example, NAME, this hand stays, and the other one moves. Which is my right hand, it moves on the top of my left hand. Like MORNING AFTERNOON, NIGHT. My right hand is the one that moves. For left-handed, it is the opposite. (Example: NAME) You move with your left hand. MORNING, AFTERNOON, and NIGHT. These are used with the left-hand which is the opposite. Okay, now, back to fingerspelling. If I fingerspell, you know, a word with double letters. Like, for example, KELLY. You see the LL in KELLY. I move my hand from the left to the right, away from my body. Because I am right-handed, I spell like this, KELLY. Now, for left-handed users, do it the opposite way. KELLY. This way, going left, away from the body. Not back across your body. Go out and away from your body. When you fingerspell, always go out and away from your body. If I fingerspell across my chest, my arm and hand would get cramped. For left-handed signers, if you spell across your body, the same thing happens, your hand and arm gets cramped. Don’t do that. Go out and away from your body. My name is Kelly (using right hand). My name is Kelly (using left hand). Go left when you spell KELLY. Another thing that came to my mind, you know, the letter Z. I’m right-handed so how I sign the letter Z so that it ends going out. For left-handers, sign Z like this. Do it the opposite way. Go out like this with the Z. Not this way. If you do it like this, your arm gets cramped across your chest. Go out with the Z like this. I know that when you write the letter Z, it looks like this writing with the right hand, and writing with the left hand. However, when you fingerspell, do it the opposite way. Z (using the left hand). Go out that way when spelling Z. Okay? I hope that this vlog will help you know which hand to use, the right or left hand. And how to fingerspell with your left hand or right hand. Okay? Good.

11 Replies to “Left vs. Right Hand – Using Your Dominant Hand | ASL – American Sign Language”

  • Very helpful! I'm right handed and only sign with my left if my right hand is holding something or busy with something else

  • Wonderful video! I think I told you I retired two years ago. Here in Scotland they use British SL and watching it messes with my brain, because some signs are similar or the same as ASL and most aren’t. So it looks “familiar” and “foreign” all at the same time. Watching a ASL videos hopefully will prevent me from losing the language.

  • This was so helpful. I just started to learn ASL and I it felt more comfortable to sign the alphabet with my left hand but I am right handed. So I was signing sentences with the right hand but spelling out letters with the left hand.

  • Very good info and presentation! Thank you for providing captions!!! I like the in-video captions better, but I know they probably take more time for you to produce. (My machine's captions are hard to read and never have shadows or outlines which helps tremendously.) Anyway thank you very much!

  • I like how you explain things so clearly. I have a question about signing left handed. When you are signing a number line, as a left handed signer, should I be starting the lowest number across my body on the right and the numbers would go up 1,2,3,4, as I move to the left. (It's hard to know because if you are looking at a map you would sign the west in the west and east in the east, but with the number line, I'm thinking you should do opposite of a right handed person, which would mean starting right to left, the opposite of how we would write the number line on paper.) Hope I explained my question clearly, I cannot find any information about this online

  • I am sure you don't notice it, but you make a bit of a grimacing face when talking about left handed stuff or after signing with you left hand. Just wanted you to be aware. As a left hander, I definitely noticed. Just wanting to give you some constructive feed back. Great video aside from that – thank you so much!

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