An ongoing list of useful small words in American Sign Language, to help you string major concepts together during conversations
[Need to get caught up on the entire saga of me learning American Sign Language (ASL) and getting involved in the Chicago Deaf community this year? See my blog's main index page for all the entries.]
Traditional ASL vocabulary classes are great, if you want to spend an entire week talking just about zoo animals, another week talking just about colors, yet another week talking just about food. But as I've been learning ASL myself, I've desperately wished that these classes started off with all the small words that are needed in actual real-time conversations; the words like “but,” “about,” “early” and “different” that help us connect together major concepts and verbs when communicating with others.
So I've decided to maintain a master list here at my blog of such words, which I am in the constant process of updating as I slowly make my way through my ASL 1, 2 and 3 classes myself this year. I've linked each word to an online demonstration of it, most of them over at Bill Vicars' Lifeprint.com, but also sometimes at Handspeak.com and SigningSavvy.com. I'm always looking for suggestions to add to this list, so please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope this list helps all my fellow ASL students do better at conversing out in the real world!
Can (as in: “allowed”)
Correct (as in: “not wrong”)
Do you mind if...
Excuse me (as in: “I need to get by”)
Excuse me (as in: “My apologies”)
Hard (as in: “difficult”)
Oh, I see
Prefer (as in: “My favorite is...”)
Prefer (as in: “I would rather...”)
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