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Sign Me Up! Online Edition

William G. Vicars, Ph.D.

MCSE, MCT, MCP+I, A+, Network+, EdNet

Opening "Chat Log Session #2" 
(Chapter 2) 

Vince: Hi, all 

Jessie: evening all 

Daniel: Hi. 

[Lots of "hello's" and chit chat.] 

DrVicars: While we are waiting to begin, let's hear any comments you have about the site. 

Vince: anyone have trouble getting in here this week? 

Kloos: No it worked out well 

Jessie: Sites great,  20 minutes to get online 

Season: No trouble at all. 

Lii: I enjoyed the site.  It helped me to get much better pictures of the fingerspelling than I've
seen elsewhere.  I had no trouble with the site.  Found everything. 

DrVicars: Anyone have trouble with or questions about the homework? 

Lii: No trouble:) 

Kloos: No, but it turns out my kids know the fingerspelling. 

Daniel: Do I read the pictures right?  Is the sign for "2" and the sign for "V" the same? 

DrVicars: Yes, 2 and "V" are the same.  In normal conversation though, it is never a problem. 
For example, my name: "Vicars," you wouldn't misunderstand that as "2icars."  Context
generally makes it clear.  In some situations it might be more difficult. 
Suppose you were fingerspelling your screen name to someone and it had some numbers mixed
in with the letters.  One of the ways to deal with that is to use mouthing.  Some Deaf will mouth
the number while signing it.  Others (the ones who don't like mouthing words or numbers) will
vibrate the number back and forth slightly to establish that it is a number and not a letter.  Yet
another way to deal with "lookalikes" is to sign the letter palm forward and the number palm
backward.  I think when you have mixed numbers and letters, the best way to deal with it is to
do the numbers backward and the letters forward. 

DrVicars: Okay then, let's get started.  First a word about protocol. 

DrVicars: Protocol for this class will involve using Instant Messages for discussions that don't 
pertain to the general class.  I want to stay pretty focused for now.   After about 40 minutes we
can loosen up and discuss computer stuff, trouble shoot the website, or anything else on your

DrVicars: Agenda for tonight.  Q and A about spelling.  Discussion about spelling.  Q and A
about  #s about the signs. Topic discussion. Then homework assignment and clarification of
same.  If you have questions use the "q" send then I'll get to you soon as possible 

DrVicars: If you want to change the subject wait for an appropriate time or... 

Tigie: Sorry I'm late 

DrVicars: Hi Tigie,  anyway, wait for a good time to speak up or use an "!" to indicate you have
a comment.  Will that work for everybody? 

[Many yes responses.] 

Buzz: ? 

DrVicars: GA Buzz 

Aimie: I'm confused 

Buzz: Sorry I'm late, is it "q" or "?" when we want to ask a question? 

DrVicars: I accept both , In ASL on the TTY  we use a q, here we use either.  Good question.
Thanks.  [Note:  a TTY or TDD is a telecommunication device for the deaf.] 

Buzz: ok 

DrVicars: GA Aimie why confused? 

Aimie: Nevermind I understand.  I just wasn't here last week. 

DrVicars: Okay,  any q's about the fingerspelling? 

Kloos: M and N appear to be the same, how do I sign the difference? 

DrVicars: The M uses three fingers over the thumb, the N uses only two. Does that help or do I
need to be more specific? 

Kloos: Thank you, that does it. 

DrVicars: How do you make double letters ?  Anybody know ? 

Kloos: No 

Tigie: Move your hand? 

Jessie: Do it twice side to side. 

Lii: Do you sign the letter and move slightly for the next letter? 

Tigie: That's what I meant. 

DrVicars: Right.  You can use a small bounce, (and I do mean small!), or slightly move the letter
to the right, or a third way is to relax and reform the fingers. 
All three methods work well, but try to avoid large bounces of the hand, -- that drives the
watcher nuts. 

Lii: What happens when you accidentally sign the wrong letter?  Do you just redo it? 

DrVicars: I just redo it.  I guess you could wave the hand back and forth in the air little bit as if
"erasing" the letter,  but 99 percent of the time it is obvious to the watcher what you meant so
you don't need to worry about spelling errors. 

Art: I have a hypercard shareware that shows the ASL alphabet. 

DrVicars: That is good.  How can the others get a copy of it ? 

Art: If people want it, just send me e-mail and I will send it. 

DrVicars: Thanks Artz. 

Buzz: Is it ok to print from your site all the info? 

DrVicars: For your personal use?  Yes. All of it is fine for non-commercial use. 

Buzz: ok 

DrVicars: Let's move on to numbers. Any questions about the number system? 

Nicola: When signing 11, do you just move the index finger up once, or twice? 

DrVicars: I do it twice. 

DrVicars: Why do we use the M for the number thousand? [Note:  One of the ways to sign the
number 1,000 is to make an "M" on the right hand, then touch the fingertips of the "M" to the
center of the left "B" palm.] 

Gwen: Same as Roman numerals. 

DrVicars: Right Gwen, back in the "old days" it started out as an "M" but it has mutated to a
bent "b" palm.  Some people still do the letter M. 

Sharp: I found it difficult to sign the letter F am I trying to straighten the fingers too much? 

DrVicars: I only straighten the pinkie and ring fingers.  I let the middle bend half-way. Does that

Sharp: Thanks. 

DrVicars: When you do numbers, you do them pretty much the same as you say them in
English.  For example:  If you are signing "1997,"  you sign "19" then "97."  If you do a phone
number, just do it as you would say it.  I leave a small pause where the hyphen would be so the
watcher can write the first part (if they are writing it down), before I do the second part. 

DrVicars: Are we all set on numbers then? 

[lots of yes responses] 

Crazy: I don't understand how to do # 16 and on.  Do I move my right or my left hand.  That's
my only trouble. 

DrVicars: Numbers change from region to region so check with your local deaf person.  The
number 16 - 19 can be done a couple different ways. You use your right hand if you are right

Crazy: Do I move my right towards my left? 

DrVicars: No.  Let me go over 16 and up.  There are generally two ways to do these numbers. 
To sign "16" you can make a ten and then a six.  Or you can take the number six, starting palm
backward, twist it forward twice in a small quick motion, ending with the palm mostly outward
(toward the watcher). 
It is the same with 17 - 19.  (For 17 you would "twist" the number 7.  Eighteen would use an 8,
and nineteen would use a "9.")  Is that clear or do you need more explanation? 

Tigie: ok thanks 

Lii: How do I sign the 20's?  I seem to have trouble  with those numbers. 

DrVicars: Again we have at least two ways.  The simplest is to do the number "2" then the next
number.  For example, "25" would be done by showing a "2" then showing a "5."  A somewhat
more popular method  seems to be to sign the letter "L" then the second digit.  The "L" indicating
that you are in the "20's" and the second digit indicating which particular number of the twenties. 
For example: You can sign "21" by showing an "L" and then a "1."  The number 20 looks like
the letter g with the index and thumb closing together a couple times. 

Most people tend to bounce the number "2" twice to represent the concept of 22. 
[bend the hand down and up at the wrist, first pointing slightly to the left and then again pointing
somewhat to the right.]  The numbers 23 and 25 can have a fluttering motion.  "23" looks like
the number 3 with the middle finger fluttering up and down a few times.  "25"  looks like the
number 5 with the middle finger fluttering up and down a few times. 

Crazy: So only one hand is use for those numbers we just discussed? 

DrVicars: Yes, that is correct. 

Crazy: No wonder I was confused, I was thinking it was 2 hands! 

Art: What does "L" have to do with it? 

DrVicars: "L" has nothing to do with it.  That is just the way deaf people do it.  Try to not think
of it as an "L" but rather think of it as a digit that in context represents "the twenties."  Why do
you say dog instead of woof because that is the way it ended up in the language.  We (I) get
spoiled in ASL because so many things are iconic.  Who knows what iconic means? 

Lii: I don't. 

Kloos: Symbolic? 

KC: Looks like what it is? 

DrVicars:  Right KC.  The sign for cat visually represents a cat's whiskers.  In computer terms,
an icon is an image on the screen that represents a certain command.  For example, a little
picture of a trash can might represent the command for the computer to "throw away" or erase a
file, but in general an icon is a symbol or image that represents something.  I'm using it here to
mean "visually representational."  But you need to remember that not all signs are iconic.  ASL,
like any true language, is symbolic and at times arbitrary.  Signs mean what they do because the
people who use them say so, and that is the bottom line. 

Aimie: It actually makes things easier to remember that way.  [iconically] 

DrVicars: Oh sure, we are "lucky" there are so many signs that look like what they represent. 

Aimie: Like for meat you grab the flesh of your hand! 

DrVicars: Also, if  any of you need help remembering a sign I'd be happy to give you a hint how
to remember it. 

DrVicars: If there are no more questions about numbers, we will move on to our next topic. 

DrVicars: Your homework assignment for next week is  to read the History and the Purpose of
ASL, and about NAD, and about Pidgin.  Make sure you can define and/or talk about each of
those a little bit by next Monday evening.  Also make sure to get in and do the first couple
content areas of the signs don't try to cram them all together at the end. 

[NAD stands for The National Association for the Deaf] 

[Various questions relating to the web site are discussed, KC asked where the NAD is located.]

Vince: NAD's address is 814 Thayer Avenue, Silver Springs, MD  20910 

KC: (Thanks) 

Buzz: Should we be able to sign letters and numbers by now or no? 

DrVicars: Yes.  I would hope.  Slowly of course but with more practice you'll improve. 

Aimie: What do you think of the book "Signing Illustrated by Mickey Flodin?" 

DrVicars: Mickey does excellent work.  I like his stuff in general. 

Aimie: I like the book...great illustrations. 

Monica: How would you suggest we get practice signing? 

DrVicars: Okay about practice. You need to tie into the Deaf community.  I know that will be
somewhat difficult for many of you, but try to find a friend or someone else whom you can talk

You might want to try your local library's audio/visual dept.  Ask the librarian about videos that
teach sign language. 

Check with your local college and or community education organizations. 

Call the "night-school" director of your school district and ask about classes. 

Check with your state's division of services to the deaf. 

If you are the religious type, check with your church for deaf outreach services. 

Subscribe to the nationwide deaf magazines:  The NAD Broadcaster (301) 587-1788, or the
Silent News (609) 802-1977.  Then also subscribe to your local Deaf Community newspaper
or newsletter. 

When you get the newspapers, look in the "What's Happening" sections and try to find activities
and events that you can attend or participate in. 

Ask the Deaf people in your area if there is a list of Deaf Organizations and contact numbers. 
Then contact the president of each organization that is of interest to you and ask if you can
volunteer is some capacity. 

Monica: Great!  Thanks for the ideas.  That helps a lot. 

Crazy: What's the difference between "nice/clean" and "excuse" 

DrVicars: The sign nice and clean is pretty much the same.  I bend "EXCUSE"  slightly at the
knuckles.  If that isn't clear, let me know and I can elaborate. 

Crazy: Left or right? 

DrVicars: Your right hand moves across left. 

Crazy: I want to know if it is the right hand knuckles that need to be bent or left? 

DrVicars: The the large knuckles of the right hand bend. The left hand stays flat.  The tips of the
right hand's fingers brush along the palm of the left hand starting at the butt of the left hand and
moving to the fingertips of the left hand. 

Crazy: Ok, thanks. 

WELLEBY: Someone asked how we should practice?  Well, I teach my friend what I learn,
then we practice together at school. 

DrVicars: Good idea as long as you learned it correctly from your teacher and you are not
fossilizing mistakes. 

Lii: How about signing in front of a mirror?  That would also give practice in reading as well. 

DrVicars: Some people like it.  I have no problem with it. 

Sharp: I've been teaching my 6 year old and he practices with me. 

Kloos: How high should we be able to sign on the numbers? 

DrVicars: infinity  <grin>  No really, just to the thousands, for this class.  To do the larger
numbers, you just string them together.  For example, to sign 104 you can do "1-C-4" or
"1-0-4."  To do 111 you sign "1-C-11" and so forth up to 1000.  Then you do 1-THOUSAND
(bent right "b" palm fingertips touch center of left flat "b" palm). [Various small topics are

DrVicars: Fine, time to close class. 

Lii: Thanks for the class.  It was fun and informative.  Goodbye, all.:) 

[Lots of "Thank you," "Great Class,"  and "See ya next week," comments.] 

Closing "Chat Log #2"