Note: These sentences and phrases are not intended to be "high
level" ASL but rather they are simple "contact signing" phrases and
signs for use between "Hearing" Police Officers and the Deaf people
with whom they occasionally interact. Additionally, these
phrases do not replace the need for a qualified interpreter.
There is however a span of time between when an interpreter is
called and when the interpreter arrives that it might be beneficial
for an emergency personnel worker to have at least a working
knowledge of a basic set of signs with which he or she is able to
Sample Quiz (01)
01. I am giving you a ticket.
02. You went through a stop sign.
03. Do you have a license?
04. Where do you live?
05. What is your address?
06. I don't understand you.
07. Do you have any weapons on you?
Have you been drinking?
09. Is there a gun in the house?
10. Where is he/she?
11. Did he/she hurt you?
12. I am giving you a warning.
13. Is she your wife?
14. Did he/she hit you?
15. Do you need an ambulance?
Stop. Show me your hands.
17. Is he your husband?
18. Are you hurt? Show me where.
19. I am here to help.
20. Do you have friends or family to notify?
21. Do you take any medications?
22. Do you need help?
23. Are you two married?
24. If you sign slow, I will understand.
25. We have called for an interpreter to come.
26. Do you need a tow truck?
An ambulance is coming/on the way.
28. You went through a red light.
29. You were speeding.
Are there any weapons in the house?
31. Please stay in your car. I will be right back.
32. I am officer ______
33. You are free to go. Drive safely.
34. Do you have an ID?
35. Is he/she your spouse?
Most concepts can be signed in more than one way. The quiz below covers
different versions and approaches to signing various concepts.
[Additional signs and a video will be posted here.]
Individual Sentence Links: DRAFT
01. I am giving you a ticket. (I/ME TICKET YOU)
02. You went through a stop sign. (YOU THROUGH STOP
03. Do you have a license? (lets-SEE LICENSE
04. Where do you live? (YOU LIVE WHERE?
05. What is your address? (YOUR ADDRESS WHAT?
06. I don't understand you. (I/ME don't-UNDERSTAND
07. Do you have any weapons on you? (GUN KNIFE YOU HAVE
08. Have you been drinking? (YOU DRINK-ALCOHOL YOU?
09. Is there a gun in the house? (THIS HOUSE ANY GUN?
10. Where is he/she? (HE/SHE WHERE
11. Did he/she hurt you? (HE/SHE HURT YOU QM-wig?)
12. I am giving you a warning. (I NOT TICKET YOU. I
13. Is she your wife? (SHE YOUR WIFE?)
14. Did he/she hit you? (HE/SHE HIT-[impact] YOU)
15. Do you need an ambulance? (YOU NEED HOSPITAL CAR
emergency-vehicle-LIGHTS YOU QM-wig?)
16. Stop. Show me your hands. (STOP. SHOW-me YOUR
17. Is he your husband? (HE YOUR HUSBAND?)
18. Are you hurt? Show me where. (YOU PAIN? SHOW-me
19. I am here to help. (I/ME HERE HELP-you.)
20. Do you have friends or family to notify? (YOU
FRIEND FAMILY WANT INFORM-to-he/she?)
21. Do you take any medications? (YOU MEDICINE
take-PILL ANY YOU?)
22. Do you need help? (YOU NEED HELP YOU?)
23. Are you two married? (YOU-TWO MARRY?)
24. If you sign slow, I will understand. (IF-[suppose]
YOU SIGN SLOW I CAN UNDERSTAND.)
25. We have called for an interpreter to come. (I
PHONE-to INTERPRETER COME-to-here-[head-nod].)
26. Do you need a tow truck? (YOU WANT TOW TRUCK COME?)
27. An ambulance is coming/on the way. (HOSPITAL
28. You went through a red light. (YOU THROUGH RED
29. You were speeding. (YOU SPEEDING.)
30. Are there any weapons in the house? (THIS HOUSE ANY
GUN KNIFE ANYTHING?)
31. Please stay in your car. I will be right back.
(PLEASE STAY CAR. I/ME GO-there COME-back.)
32. I am officer Vicars. (I/ME POLICE. I NAME
33. You are free to go. Drive safely. (I/ME FINISH. YOU
CAN LEAVE. DRIVE SAFE.)
34. Do you have an ID? (YOU HAVE ID?)
35. Is he/she your spouse? (HE/SHE YOUR MARRY?)
Note: "QM-wig" means "question mark wiggle" and is used to emphasize that you
need an answer. While in some circumstances QM-wig is used to indicate
incredulity or skepticism that is not the case with tactical signing. Here we
are using it to make absolutely clear that you are now ready for an answer.
Isolated English phrases or statements are problematic in that their meaning may
depend on situational knowledge. For example, "Is there a gun in the house?" We
don't know if we are currently in the house or standing outside of the house.
The way we sign the question will depend on knowing whether we are "in" the
house or not so that we can know whether we should sign "IT" or if we should
instead sign "THIS." A question and direction like "Are you hurt?
Show me where." -- is problematic because it uses a state of being verb which in
ASL could be interpreted several ways. YOU HURT?-[eyebrows-up] could mean "Were
you hurt?" "Did you get hurt?" "Are you hurt?" If it is understood as "Were you
hurt?" and then followed by WHERE? -- it could possibly cause someone to think
that you want to know the physical location (such as the kitchen) where the
injury took place (rather than the place on the body). If there is a lot
of situational context it will be obvious which meaning you intend and you can
thus use fewer signs. However if the situation is ambiguous you will
want/need to use additional signs to clarify your meaning.
"Have you been" (as in "Have you been drinking?"), is another "state of being"
concept (been) that will need either "high context" or additional signs to
clarify the intent of the officer.
Signing notes and versions for video development and discussion:
Do you have any weapons on you? GUN KNIFE YOU HAVE YOU?
GUN KNIFE BAT YOU HAVE YOU? GUN KNIFE YOU HAVE WITH YOU NOW? YOUR BODY YOU
HIDE GUN KNIFE ANYTHING DANGER YOU? YOU ANY W-E-A-P-O-N YOU?
Is there a gun in the house? THIS HOUSE ANY GUN?
THIS HOUSE HIDE GUN ANY? IT HOUSE ANY GUN QM-wig?
Have you been drinking? YOU DRINK-ALCOHOL YOU? YOU RECENT
HOUR 2-HOUR DRINK-ALCOHOL YOU? NOW-NIGHT YOU DRINK-ALCOHOL YOU? UP-TO-NOW YOU
DRINK-ALCOHOL ANY? YOU DRINK WHEN? YOU DRINK HOW-MUCH?
Where is he/she? HE/SHE WHERE? HUSBAND WHERE? WIFE
WHERE? SON WHERE? BABY WHERE? DAUGHTER WHERE? MOM WHERE? DAD WHERE?
Stop. Show me your hands. (STOP. SHOW-me YOUR HANDS.)
STOP lets-SEE YOUR HANDS. STOP INDEX-[point-to-hand]
Are you hurt? Show me where. (YOU PAIN? SHOW-me WHERE?)
YOUR BODY HURT WHERE?
Do you have friends or family to notify? (YOU FRIEND FAMILY
WANT INFORM-to-he/she?) CONTACT FRIEND OR-[body-shift] FAMILY YOU WANT YOU?
CALL FRIEND FAMILY YOU WANT YOU? YOU WANT ME CALL FRIEND OR-[body-shift] FAMILY
FOR YOU QM-wig?
Do you take any medications? (YOU MEDICINE take-PILL ANY
YOU?) YOU ANY MEDICINE MUST YOU? YOU REQUIRE RX YOU? YOU RECENT take-PILL,
INJECT ANY YOU?
Do you need a tow truck? (YOU WANT TOW TRUCK COME?) YOU
WANT TOW CAR COME? YOU WANT ME CALL TOW FOR YOU? CAR BREAKDOWN? NEED TOW
YOU? I CAN CALL FOR YOU. I CAN CONTACT FOR YOU.
An ambulance is coming/on the way. (HOSPITAL
emergency-vehicle-lights COME-to-here-[head-nod].) HOSPITAL CAR COME-to-here.
Please stay in your car. I will be right back. (PLEASE
STAY. I/ME GO-there COME-back.) PLEASE STAY. I GO MY CAR TYPE-keyboard SOON
COME-back. PLEASE SIT STAY FOR SAFE. I GO SHORT-soon MY CAR I BK-[back-to-here]
Do you have an ID? (YOU HAVE ID?) YOU HAVE ID PICTURE
In a message dated 5/26/2015 3:47:58 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, a
police officer writes:
... I discovered your lessons while doing a YouTube search about a
year or so ago. A neighbor in my new apartment at the time was Deaf
and used a wheelchair. After realizing how difficult it was to communicate
by writing messages down, I took to the internet to help me out.
After a few short lessons, I was having limited conversation with my
neighbor, and it was very motivating for me to see how excited he
was that I was learning sign language now. Unfortunately, I no
longer live next to my friend, and find myself refreshing my memory
with your videos quite often. I am currently a police officer, and
have been for several years actually. It's not an everyday
occurrence, but I do find myself in situations where knowing sign
language has benefited me. In fact, just the other day, a gentleman
was having trouble with his phone system. Since my knowledge of sign
is limited, we found ourselves writing messages on paper again. Most
of the sign language that I have learned is great for meeting people
in a personal setting, but these are not the questions necessary to
find out information from citizens while I'm at work.
After searching your website, I did find that there are programs out
in California designed for law enforcement and emergency personnel,
but I currently reside in Pennsylvania. I like the "self taught"
route, and was wondering if you have ever considered making a video
geared towards law enforcement and emergency personnel so that we
could refresh our memories by using a single video? I realize this
is a tall order given how busy you must be, but I thought it was at
least worth a shot. It doesn't hurt to ask, right? There are similar
programs for us for folks who speak Spanish. They call it "tactical
Spanish". It's great for basic questions that we frequently use, and
works excellent. I happen to be more interested and passionate about
sign language, as there are several Spanish speaking officers in the
area already. If you have any questions of me, I would be more than
happy to help out in any way I can if you believe this is something
you could do. I look forward to hearing from you Dr Vicars! I will
continue to enjoy your lessons regardless.
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