The sign for "email" has evolved a lot over the years and
continues to evolve.
EMAIL / me-EMAIL-you
In this version of "email" the right index finger makes a pass
through the cavity of the left "c" hand.
(The "C" hand is often modified so that the fingers are bent from the
knuckles and are relatively straight.")
"EMAIL" is one of those signs that could easily spark an argument.
I'll share my thoughts with you on the topic and you can do what you want.
Some teachers might try to tell you that this sign is a noun/verb
pair--meaning that the single movement equals a verb and the double movement
equals a noun.
In theory that concept makes sense and seems to be true when you do the
signs "in isolation" as if standing in front of a group of students and
showing them the sign as part of a list of signs.
But in "real life" what happens is that the "1-handshape" (passing through a
somewhat flattened "C" handshape) version of this sign using a single movement can be interpreted
as either a noun or a verb depending on the rest of the sentence.
In situations where it is important to distinguish between the noun form and
the verb form of "email" --use
a single movement as the verb form and a repeated movement is the noun form.
Let me give you a comparison. Back in the "old days" the term Google
was just a noun. And then later it became both a noun and a verb. Now
we tend to capitalize it as a noun and lowercase it as a verb, but the same
"word" can be both a noun or a verb depending on the rest of the sentence.
Note: the sign "EMAIL" has gone through many variations.
Back when email started becoming popular I noticed a bent-B-hand version
being used prior to the index finger version. As time passed the index
finger version started showing up more than the bent-B-hand version.
Thus I think of the index finger version as the new form of the B-hand
The sign has also become directional. The sign "you-EMAIL-me" starts away
from you and moves toward you.
EMAIL (fingerspelled version)
This sign moves outward while fingerspelling.
It was also quite common for people to spell E-M-A-I-L with an outward
movement. Notice how in my example I'm not showing the letter "A"?
Eventually the fingerspelling version became shortened more and more until
now there is a version of "me-EMAIL-you" that literally looks as if you are
flicking a booger at someone to say "I'll email you." (Yes, I know,
that is a very classy way of describing it eh? That's why they pay me
the big bucks. ...oh wait...they don't. Oh well.)
OPTIONAL READING / ARCHIVES:
Sort of amusing now, but "in the old days" you might also have seen an "initialized version" based on the
"TTY-call" sign. In this old version, the right "e" hand slides along the left index
finger. Do NOT use this version.
In a message dated 7/8/2006 3:22:33 PM Pacific Daylight Time, jhender@
I've also seen quite frequently a variation where you wave an
e-handshape in the air and then sign 'letter/mail' by licking your thumb
and slapping it in the corner of an open-b-handshape like it was a piece
If you feel like amusing your local (Deaf) ASL instructor and committing grade
suicide - try doing that version on your next expressive ASL test. Heh.
But hey, thanks for sharing. Really.
Now for your entertainment, I'm going to show you my email address.
Please do NOT email me (unless it is to send
donations). I love you all,
but I get waaaay too much email.