edited by Leonard.
American Sign Language:
For my second project I studied American sign language (ASL) and started to learn the basics of communicating with signs. I learned how to communicate simple ideas, phrases, and thoughts with only a few common, but important, signs. Learning to sign is really different from anything I've ever had to learn before. Sentences are formed differently than one would form them if speaking the same thought. Also, so much of what is said through sign language is conveyed through facial expressions as much as it is through actual signing. To learn ASL I worked with Mr. Beuschlein (who knows a lot about sign language) and he taught me basic signs. I also looked at sign language websites to practice reading finger-spelling at different speeds and words of different lengths. A helpful tip when reading finger-spelling is not to memorize the letters that you see, but to form the sounds of the letters in your head in order to hear what word is being signed. Practicing signing every day is essential in learning the language. Personally, I found it a lot easier to remember the signs that I used and practiced often, and I tended to forget the signs I didn't use often, which is characteristic of almost anything one is trying to learn. Also, when learning signs I tried to associate an aspect of that sign with the meaning of the word in order to help me remember the sign better.

A brief background: Sign language was first seen in Italy during first half of the 1600s. A physician recognized that deaf people could be taught to communicate by using symbols and signs and in 1620 a book was published showing an alphabet and teaching deaf people to sign. In America, sign language initially started with the Great Plains Indians who used signs to communicate with other tribes more than with actual deaf people. Most of American sign language is based off of the French system of signs, although, one can find similarities between our current system and the Native Americans' sign language. Unfortunately, sign language is not universal since each country and language has developed its own signs and system for signing; althProxy-Connection: keep-alive Cache-Control: max-age=0 gh, ASL is the most advanced sign language.

Tips for signing can be found below the common signs list.

Common ASL Signs

  • I apologize for the length of the list. I had difficulties with the wiki and couldn't put it into a table or chart format.
Family:
mom
dad
brother
sister
boy
girl
baby
*hold arms like you are holding a baby [Put on above (same for other hints below).]
grandma
grandpa
son
daughter
aunt
uncle
marriage

Places:
work
school
store
home

Time:
day
night
week
month
year
future
past
hour
minute
second
now/present/current/today
recently
next
often
last
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

Numbers:
1-100
1000
1,000,000

Colors:
red
orange
yellow
green
blue
purple
brown

Pronouns/Possession:
I
you
he
she
it
we
they
me
him
her
them
ours
her
his
hers
him
them
theirs

Food:
milk
hamburger
apple
drink
*act like you're drinking with a cup
juice
food
*like putting food in mouth
eat
egg
cup
cereal
water
sugar/candy (cute)
cookie
cake
hungry
fruit
vegetable
orange
meat

Feelings:
happy
sad
angry
excited
sorry
like/ don't like
good
bad
love
please
thank you
wish
desire
hungry
want/ don't want

Temperature:
hot
cold
warm
cool

Animals:
cat
dog
alligator
hippo
squirrel
bird
lion
horse
rabbit
cow
frog

Questions:
who
what
when
where
how
why

Amounts/Quality:
big
large
tall
empty
full
enough
each/every
all
some
most
none/nothing
sometimes
only
always

Communication:
say
tell
talk
communication
conversation
want
think
thought
desire
believe
know
remember
forgot

Prepositions/Verbs
for
through
between
open
close
over
under
around
in
out
above
below
up
down
because
look (appearance)
see/look/watch
read
fight
teach
learn
before
after
show
example
again
ask
find
can
can't
love
hate
laugh
run
walk
play
cry

Other Words:
hug
*hug yourself
love
friend
problem
yes
no
movie
music
favorite
language
sign
wood
tree
book
*hold hands like a book

TIPS:
  • Signs that are associated with a gender typically are located in specific regions of ones body. Signs related to females tend to be signed near the lower half of ones face. Signs having to do with males are signed near the upper portion of ones face near the forehead. Some signs that follow this pattern are wife, husband, boy, girl, mom, day, son, daughter, man, woman.
  • Many of the signs relating to the brain such as thought, believe, remember, etc. are signed by the forehead like one is pointing to the brain.
  • Words conveying possession, mine, his, yours, ours, etc, are shown with an open palm and pointing to the person or people. Signs such as I, me, you, her, him, them, they, etc are shown with pointing to that person or group with an index finger.
  • Many of the communication words are signed near the mouth indicating speech or talking.
  • Signs relating to the future are typically shown with a forward motion and signs indicating something in the past are signed by pointing of the shoulder.
  • The signs for animals tend to emphasize key characteristics of that animal. For example, the sign for alligator is shown by connecting your hands at the wrist and opening and closing your hands in a claw shape... which is like an alligator with its mouth opening and closing with its teeth showing.
  • Lots of signs are intuitive and can easily be inferred or guessed since they are similar to how they look or their meaning is obvious. Some examples are book (open and close your hands like you are opening and closing a book), hug (hug your arms around yourself), many of the signs for prepositions and quantities can be inferred, lots of the emotion signs can easily be interpreted since facial expressions are often incorporated with the sign, for example, cry (make a sad face and trace fingers down your cheeks).

sources:
http://icaru