ASL 1 – Unit 8
In this unit of the sign language classes, you will learn more about pronouns and directional verbs.
Physical Features & Clothing
Visit the Online Course Vocabulary Category for this unit to view videos of these vocabulary words.
- HAIR (long)
- HAIR (short)
- HAIR (short-men)
- INDIAN/NATIVE AMERICAN
- Numbers (2-Digit and Multiples of 10 and 11)
- SHIRT (plaid)
- SHIRT (v-neck)
- WHITE (race)
If you are taking the sign language classes with a partner, practice this conversation together:
B: How many siblings do you have?
A: I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I am the oldest child.
A: Are you married?
B: No, I have a boyfriend. Are you married?
A: Yes, I’m married.
B: Do you have any children?
A: Yes, I have 2 girls. Their names are Marissa and Chelsea.
If you do not have a partner for the sign language classes, practice signing with Christine! In the video below, Christine will be person B. Pause the video when prompted, and reply as person A.
Pronouns and Indexing (cont.)
Directional verbs are also used to refer to referents. These verbs can show “who did what to whom” just by their movement between referents. This movement indicates the subject and the object of the verb in the sentence.
For example, if I sign “BOOK” and then I sign “GIVE” starting near my body and moving it in your direction, then I would have signed, “I will give you the book” or “I gave you the book.” I can also start the sign away from my body (toward you) and then move the sign “GIVE” toward me and end near my body, then I would have signed, “You give me the book.” If I move the sign “GIVE” from starting toward you out to my left or my right, I would have signed, “Give the book to him” or “Give the book to her.” I can also start “GIVE” toward my left and move it toward my right and I would have signed, “He gave the book to her” or “She gave the book to him.”
In the video below, I will demonstrate the verbs described above:
This directionality can be used with many signs for verbs, but not all of them. You can use directionality with signs like “TELL,” “ASK,” and “SEND.” However, you cannot use directionality with the sign for “LOVE” (arms crossed over chest). You would have to sign “HE LOVE HER” or “SHE LOVE HIM.”
Another example would be the sign for “MEET.” I can sign “I meet you” just by facing the back of my left hand toward you and the back of my right hand toward me when I bring my hands together to form the sign “MEET.”
As you may have learned from the examples in the last unit of the sign language classes, pronouns in ASL are gender-neutral. For example, you would sign “he” or “she” by pointing your index finger off to the side. They are signed exactly the same. Gender is normally established with a clear male or female sign (like MOTHER or FATHER) before using one of these pronouns to clarify the meaning.
Gender signs tend to be signed in certain locations, which makes them easy to specify. Most male signs are formed on or near the forehead while most female signs are formed on or near the cheek or chin.
For example, FATHER is signed by touching the tip of your thumb to your head, while MOTHER is signed by touching the tip of your thumb to your chin.
In the next activity of the sign language classes, you will be using context and your knowledge of pronouns and indexing to decipher the pronouns and the gender of those pronouns.
Pronoun and Gender Practice 8.1
Turn to page 11 in your workbook. In the video below, Mark is going to sign a short story. When numbers show up on the screen, write the pronoun that Mark is signing and circle the gender of the pronoun. The first one has been done for you.
Indexing on your non-dominant hand
You can also use your non-dominant hand as a way to index and talk about your friends or family. You saw an example of this in the conversation in Unit 7.
For example, when you are talking about your siblings, you can index them on your non-dominant hand by pointing to different fingers for each sibling, starting with your thumb for your oldest sibling and working your way down to your last finger for the youngest.
Indexing Practice 8.2
Turn to page 11 in your workbook. In the video below, Deborah will sign 5 descriptions about the children of different families. Answer the question about each description.
When you’re finished, check your answers in the back of the workbook. Go back and review the questions you missed. Go back and study how the children of each family were described. Depending on the number of children, you will use different ways to order and describe them.
Numbers – 2-Digit and Multiples of 10 & 11
Watch the video clip below. Mando is going to model 2-digit numbers and the multiples of 10 and 11. Practice signing each number.
Number Practice 8.3
Turn to page 12 in your workbook. In the video below, Mando is going to sign 10 phrases. Write down the numbers that signed in each phrase. The first one has been done for you.
When you’re finished, check your answers in the back of the workbook. Go back and review the questions you missed.
Turn to page 12 in your workbook. I used the video below for the Number Practice above. This time, you will be focusing on the signs instead of the numbers. Mando signed 10 phrases. Write down the 2 words used in each phrase. The first one has been done for you.
In DJSC! A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar, read Chapter 6 (American Sign Language Syntax), Section 6.4 (Pronouns and Indexing). This reading will be a great review of what you’ve learned about pronouns and indexing as well as give you more examples and illustrations of pronouns in ASL.
Are You Enjoying the Class?
Many new ASL students are very interested to know about your Start ASL class experience. Have you been able to successfully learn sign language? What is your favorite part of the class? Are you learning everything you want to? Do you have any useful tips? Share Your Experience!
End of Unit 8
Great job! In the next unit of the sign language classes, you will learn about verbs in ASL.