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American Sign Language: "turn"

The right sign for "turn" is going to depend on your meaning.

If you mean "turn" as in "it is the next person's turn," "second hand," "used car," "alternate plan," and "step-brother" then use an "L"-handshape and twist it toward the outside (or toward the person who's turn it is).  If you mean, "It is my turn," then twist it toward yourself and have it end on your chest.


Animation: "TURN" (general)

"My Turn"
Roll an "L" hand back toward your chest.  You can actually whack it up against your chest if you are adamant about it being your turn. (Or if you just like whacking your chest.) (No comment.)


"Your turn"
Roll an "L" hand forward the person to whom you are signing. (Do NOT whack them in the chest. If you do, I don't know you. Find another teacher.)


"Take turns" (You and I go back and forth)

If you mean "turn" as in turn on a computer by pushing a button then just mime pushing a button with your thumb.  Or spell "on" using a somewhat large movement. 

TURN-ON via push-button switch:

The sign above would be used for old upright "desktop" style computers. You should modify the angle and movement to match wherever the "on button" is on your computer or device.  Note: Even though most ASL teachers avoid using the "ON"-preposition sign, it is fairly common for Deaf people to use the "on top of"-(preposition) sign to mean "on" as in turn "on" your computer.

Suppose you mean "turn" as in "turn on the the lights by flipping a switch." In that case just mime flipping a light switch upward.


TURN-ON via switch:


If you mean "turn" as in turn off a light by flipping a switch downward then use a downward movement to mime the action.

TURN-OFF via switch:



There are dozens and dozens of English phrases that involve the word "turn." Each of those phrases should be signed using an appropriate and specific set of signs.
Concepts such as "turn the car left," "she turns me on," "it turned out alright," "the situation took a turn for the worse" and "the Earth turns on its axis" would all be signed very differently.

The topic of "turning" could take hours to cover and someday I'd like to do a complete lesson on how to express the concept of "turn." Feel free to donate gobs of money so I can speed up development of this website eh?

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