Read The American Sign Language Phrase Book Online
Authors: Lou Fant,Barbara Bernstein Fant,Betty Miller
The arrows together with the numbers in
(HAMBURGER) show a reversal of position here. In the first position the right hand is on top, and in the second position it is on bottom.
, the fourth aid, is shown in
(TREES) along with the circular arrows that show how the hand moves from first to final position. The broken arrow means that there may be two or three repetitions of the sign. The sign is repeated (third and fourth positions) only once in the drawing.
(WAIT) are the fifth aid, and they tell you to wriggle the fingers. In the sign for "13" (
), they tell you to wriggle the index and second finger together, but not the rest of the hand.
In most of the drawings the signer is shown facing directly front, but many signs can best be learned by seeing the sign from an angle slightly off center; thus, the signer is sometimes shown facing slightly to his right or to his left. The WANT sign (
), for instance, would be difficult to read if it were shown straight on, so the signer is shown facing slightly to his right to give you a clearer view of the sign. When you make the sign, however, do not turn to your right, but make it straight toward the person to whom you are signing. In a few of the drawings, such as those for LESSON (
), the signer is shown from a rear view, as well as from the front, to help you to see the sign more clearly.
LESSON (rear view)
When more than one drawing is required to illustrate how a single sign is made, each sign label is followed by a number. For example, the illustration of the sign AWFUL requires two steps, and these are labeled "AWFUL (1)" and "AWFUL (2)":
When a single concept can be signed in more than one way, several possible signs are shown, and their labels are followed by a letter. For example, the three separate ways to sign BAPTIZE are labeled "BAPTIZE (A)," "BAPTIZE (B)," and "BAPTIZE (C)":
Sometimes, an entire phrase or sentence can be said in more than one way. In these cases, each sentence, along with its component signs, is shown and indicated with a letter. For example, the sentence "Why didn't you eat last night?" can be signed as "PAST NIGHT YOU EAT NOT WHY" or as "PAST NIGHT WHY YOU EAT NOT":
Why didn't you eat last night? (Example B)