One Handed Signing:
In a message dated 5/23/2007 8:29:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time, rgt0705@ writes:
I have been using your site to learn from for years. The only "formal" sign language training/classes I've
ever had was what I remembered learning as a child by watching my aunt and uncle (who is deaf) communicate and
by someone I used to work with who is partially deaf. I, by no means, am able to communicate the way I'd like
to. I don't have anyone to sign with, so receiving is not one of my strong points. However, I've always
loved signing and every now and then will learn to sign some of the hymns at church and sign them on Sundays.
I just recently started working at a day care center and was asked to incorporate signing into my
teaching. My director has taken a sign language course and also watches a program on TV aimed at teaching
children some signs. I know what your opinion is of someone who is correcting another about how they sign.
However, today she signed the color "green" with an "h" instead of a "g". She said this is the way it was
signed on the TV program. Also, one of the other teachers came in and asked how to sign "play". She used one
hand instead of two and told her to be careful because it also can mean "yellow". I told her she was
incorrect. She said that her instructor told her that it was ok, because some people only have one hand. I
don't agree with teaching two-handed signs using only one hand. If it is a two-handed sign, then teach that
sign using both hands. If a person only has one hand, then, the person they are having the conversation with
will understand what they are trying to say from the context of the conversation. Who is correct, especially
when incorporating these signs in our lessons to hearing children? I would greatly appreciate hearing from
Many signs naturally evolve from two handed signs into one handed signs simply because they are easier that way. For
example "CAT" used to be a two handed sign and now is commonly done with one hand. I've been watching the sign
"thousand" evolve from the two-handed version into a one-handed version. Thousand went from touching an "M" hand to
the palm, to touching a bent hand to the palm, and is now showing up as a bent hand jabbing forward/down at an angle
without making contact with the second hand.
One handed signing is not "correct" because some people only have one hand. A one-handed sign become "correct" when a
preponderance of ASL users recognize it and accept it into their vocabulary.
The evolution of a two-handed sign into a one-handed sign will be resisted or greatly delayed in those circumstances
where there is an existing one-handed sign with a different meaning. Thus I agree with you that at this time the sign
PLAY is best done with two hands, thus reserving the one-handed version for the concept of "yellow." Now, of course
if you have a cup of hot chocolate in your hand and you want to sign PLAY, by all means do use the one handed
p.s. Green is indeed done with a "G" hand. A good way to remember this sign is to shake your "g" hand in the air
while stating loudly, "I've got something green on my finger and I can't get it off!" Heh
One handed signing
Also See "Right
or left handed signing"
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