Similar Signs: READ and DANCE in American Sign Language
August 24, 2019
Many students confuse two signs: dance
and read. Why? Because they look very similar, right? Both use a “2” handshape
and a flat palm — same hand shapes. For DANCE, this is the orientation. READ looks a little different. So the handshape, though, is the same. The difference is
both in sort of how the hands are oriented and the movement a little bit.
So palm up and the “legs” down: DANCE. And see how those fingers … the palm is up and
the fingers are down? Dance. It’s like dance movement — you kind of go
side to side. See that? From the wrist, side to side. DANCE. Like your legs are
sweeping above the floor: dance. Dance. DANCE. READ. So again the handshape is that “2”
and flat palm — same thing, right? Now, the palm isn’t flat like it was for “dance”.
Now, I’m going to pick it up like we’re holding a book or a paper, all
right? See that? And now the “2” handshape again —
represents the eyes this time — going down the page. So we’re not sweeping across
the floor, or readings across lines; we’re reading down the page. So DANCE versus
READ. Notice now the wrist goes up and down: READ. Read. Reading. Read. Read. Read. Right, so again: DANCE. READ. Dance. Read.