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How To Learn Sign Language

Using Your Dominant Hand | ASL – American Sign Language


Hello ASL THAT! In ASL, there are list of rules that we should follow. I’m going to pick one of these and it is related to which hand should we use. Sign with my right hand or left hand? Spell with my right hand or left hand? Which one? You may notice that some people out there, when they sign, they alternate between both hands. Like this, they spell with their right hand, and then spell with their left hand. And keep going back and forth. Some of them sign with just the right hand and then just the left hand. It can be distracting. One of the ASL rules state that we should pick one hand to be the dominant hand. The dominant hand is the hand you use to eat, write, and shoot a basketball. This hand has many purposes and is the one you use often. This is my preferred and stronger hand. That is called the dominant hand. The other hand is the weak hand. Hope that is clear. I know that some people out there use both hands because they are ambidextrous. They can write with both hands, eat with both hands, and shoot the basketball with both hands, among other things. I can understand that but in ASL, there is a rule that you should pick one. One hand would be the dominant hand. ASL has many different signs. Some of these signs are one-handed. One-handed signs like HELLO, YOU, ME,NOT, LIKE… one-handed signs… which hand would we use for these signs? The dominant hand, my dominant hand. LIKE, YOU, don’t do that with the weak hand. Like HELLO, YOU, I use my dominant hand. Like for example, HELLO MY NAME JOE. Right? Not like this. You see going back and forth between the hands, that is erratic. Instead of switching back and forth with our hands, we should be using the dominant hand like this. As you can see, the sign NAME, the dominant hand goes over the weak hand because it moves around. My dominant hand should be the one that is moving. The weak hand should be staying still. I’m going to expand on that. In ASL, we have one-handed signs like YOU, HELLO, and many others. We know about that. The dominant hand is used for that. Now, the other category of signs are two-handed signs. It has two sub-categories. One is two-handed signs where both hands are moving like BUTTERFLY, DIFFERENT+++, STARS, FIREWORKS, FRIENDLY, etc. That is the two-handed signs category where both hands move, so that is fine. On the other hand, the other category, the two-handed signs where one hand moves and the other hand stays. Some people are confused about these. We need to look at it. The hand that moves is the dominant hand. The weak hand stays. For support. Like for example, WEEK, MONTH, MEET, so these signs, you know,… Like with the sign NAME, the dominant moves and the weak hand stays. Hope that is clear and that you understand. We should pick one to be the dominant hand instead of switching back and forth between the hands. Because when we switch between hands, it can cause a feeling of discord or disconnect. We need to look carefully and be consistent all the way by using the dominant hand. Then the expression will be more smooth. Like for example, HELLO MY NAME JOE. Okay? Good! ASL THAT!

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