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American Sign Language: "I" or "me"

I or ME:


Also see: INDEXING


In a message dated March 29th 8:25:56 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, elevenwagon@ writes:
Hi Dr. Bill,
My name is Remi and I'm in 7th grade. I recently began teaching myself ASL using your site! 
When I was in 1st grade, I went to a school that had a program for Deaf students. Sometimes, they would come into our class and we'd all learn a bit of signing. Somehow, I remember learning the sign "I" (as in talking about myself) as making the letter I and placing the fist side against my chest.
For some reason, it now comes naturally to me when I practice! I know that when you sign "I" in your videos, you simply point to yourself. Am I doing it wrong?
Hello :)
It depends on your goal. Initializing the "I/me" with the English letter "i" is something that people do when they are using what is called "Signed English." If your goal is to learn American Sign Language for purposes of satisfying high school or college 2nd language requirements then it would be better for you to avoid over-initializing your signs and instead stick with the versions of signs that are used by multi-generational native ASL Deaf adults who have attended a state residential school for the Deaf and are active in the Deaf community.
Also, the concept of "I" or "me" can be expressed in ways other than by using a specific sign. For example, you could use move the sign "GIVE" from the other person toward yourself to mean "give it to me." This might be glossed (which means "written") as you-GIVE-me. In that example you wouldn't use the sign "I/me" -- instead you would just rely on the starting position, the direction of the movement, and the ending position of the sign GIVE.
Dr. Bill

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