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American Sign Language: "history"


The sign for "history" moves an "H" hand down, up, and down again.


HISTORY:  (version 2)
This version means the same as the previous version.  It just adds the non-dominant fist hand.  The "H"-hand (lightly) whacks the back of the fist, twice.


In a message dated 3/15/2017 12:50:35 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Lyn (Deaf, a wordsmith, an ASL instructor, and a poet) writes:

Hi Bill,

Many years ago I was told the correct way to sign 'history' is as follows:

A dominant H handshape - fingers point straight out and palm faces the non-dominant side of the body. Now, move the hand in two very small circles - - if right-handed those would be clockwise circles.

The logic for the circular movement, I was told, was two-fold. First, to represent the unending 'cycle' of history and second, to help distinguish the sign from the signs for 'hurry/hurried/haste' and 'hard of hearing.'

But most often (or so it seems to me) it is signed with two downward movements.

I see "history" signed with a circular motion on occasion but it seems to me that using two downward motions is the more common way to sign it?

Can you tell me if both movements (circular and downward) are correct? And if both are correct is the downward movement preferred?



I tend to do HISTORY using the two downward movements and a slightly hyper-extended wrist:
I have seen history done on the back of the non-dominant fist using the motion of a locomotive wheel axle.
I've seen history done with two backward somewhat near the shoulder flicks (connecting the sign to the past).
But I have "not" see that circular method to which you are referring.
Which, of course doesn't mean it is "wrong" -- just so rare as to not be something I'd teach to a college student.
- Bill


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