Free Sign Language Classes (ASL 2 – Unit 8)

ASL 2 – Unit 8


In this unit of the free sign language classes, you will be learning about inflection.


Remember: ASL 2 and 3 vocabulary videos are not available for the free classes.
You can look these up in your favorite ASL dictionary or join our Complete Online Course.


Conversation Practice

If you are learning American Sign Language with a partner, practice this conversation together:

A: Did you see the new clothing store they put in?
B: No, where is it?
A: It’s nice. It’s next to the grocery store.
B: No, I prefer to shop at Macy’s.
A: But that’s way out in the next town.
B: I know, but I’ve been shopping there for years. It’s my very favorite store.

If you do not have a partner, practice signing with Mark! In the video below, Mark will be person B. Pause the video when prompted, and reply as person A.

Inflection (Adverbs)

Adverbs can modify an adjective, a verb, or another adverb to indicate time, place, manner, cause, or intensity. For example, English words like “quickly,” “boldly,” and “slowly” are adverbs.

In ASL, there are no separate signs for adverbs. Adverbs are created by adding inflection to a sign. Inflection can include varying the intensity or speed of signing or by incorporating facial expression.

For example, the sign for WALK can be made quickly or slowly to indicate how the person is walking, LIGHT-BLUE is made by signing BLUE with a slight wrist turning motion, and SMART becomes BRILLIANT and PRETTY becomes BEAUTIFUL when signs are exaggerated.
Instead of signing “I VERY HAPPY,” you would sign “I HAPPY,” signing HAPPY in an exaggerated fashion with a larger movement and increased facial expression.

Here are some ways you can inflect a sign:

  1. Use a more intense facial expression
  2. Sign faster, slower, or sharper
  3. Sign using a larger movement
  4. Nod your head faster, slower, or sharper
  5. Shake your head faster, slower, or sharper

This is also where the many natural ASL mouth movements can be used. For example, instead of just signing, “I WANT LARGE SODA,” you can sign “I WANT (LARGE)”cha”) SODA” with the “CHA” mouth movement to mean a “gigantic” or “huge” soda.

Different signs are normally inflected in different ways. The inflection that you choose to use will depend mostly on the sign you are using.

Inflection Practice 8.1

Turn to page 10 in your workbook. In the video below, Christine is going to sign 10 sentences that each includes an inflected sign. Underline the sign(s) that is/are inflected.

When you’re finished, check your answers in the back of the workbook. Go back and review the questions you missed.

Expression Assignment 2-2

To practice your expression skills, I want you to use your webcam (or a video camera) and sign whatever you like (a short story, three sentences, one sentence, whatever) that includes two classifiers, one pluralization, and one inflection.Then, go back and watch your video. This is a great way to practice your expression skills and be able to critique your own signing.

If you want more help, I highly suggest signing up for our paid online classes. In those classes, you can submit your video and get constructive assigned comments from other students.

Or, you can check out The Start ASL Tutoring Program. Personalized ASL tutoring is a great way to practice what you’ve learned. You can practice this assignment with an ASL tutor and get instant feedback! Book an appointment with The Start ASL Tutoring Program today!

Reading Assignment

In DJSC! A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar, read Chapter 5 (ASL Morphology), Section 5.1. (Inflection) and 5.2. (Noun/Verb Pairs). These sections explain and demonstrate inflection and the noun/verb pair signs. This will be a good review of what you learned in ASL 1 as well as what you learned in this section.