Lesson 4: Common ASL Phrases
By Elaine Ernst Schneider
As was discussed in the first series of sign lessons, two methods of signing exist: American Sign Language and Signed English. (For an explanation and comparison, see https://www.lessontutor.com/eesASLIntro/ ) The signs for words, for the most part, are the same. It is the structuring of the sentences that sets the two systems apart. For example, the Signed English sentence “Are you hungry?” might just as easily be conveyed by the American Sign Language phrase “Hungry, you?” In this lesson, you will be introduced to some common ASL phrases.
Are you hungry?
The book is boring.
Assignment: Try signing these phrases
- I am sick (hint: me sick)
- You are not eating? (hint: you eat not?)
- I have a new red car. (hint: new car, red, me)
|Signs||Description of Sign Action|
|book||You don’t judge a book by its cover. Palms together, fingertips up, then ‘open’ your hands, thumbs leading, to display the contents.|
|boring||Place the index finger of the right hand on the right nostril, rotating the wrist slightly to the front.|
|church||Make a left “s” hand and hold it with the palm facing downward. Place a right “c” hand on the back of the left hand. Note: The sign symbolizes that the church is set on the rock.|
|go||“G” hand pushes away from the body in front. “Shoo!”|
|hungry||Use right “c” hand and run the hand down the center of the chest in a downward motion, touching the fingertips to the body as if outlining where the esophagus lies within the chest cavity.|
|me||Point to self, mid-chest.|
|want||Extend both hands forward, palms up. Move both open curved hands toward the chest several times, as if drawing in the desired object.|
|you||Point in the direction of where someone is located. If no one is there, point to an “imaginary” person.|