Common usage errors in ASL Level 1

Below are some common errors that ASL students made in level-one class that you can avoid.

Error: your and you're

How do these glosses your welcome and your right feel (look or sound, whichever synesthetically inclined you are) mean in ASL?

Did it originally mean "you're welcome" and "you're right" in English? To express it correctly in ASL, one sign you right, not your right as in human right.

The ASL word your is a possessive pronoun (likewise in English), whereas you're is a contraction of you are in English. A few ASL students habitually sign your for you're.

Gloss: your wrong.

Wrong. This basic ASL phrase your wrong is wrong. It's equivalent to as "wrong is yours" in a possessive sense. That's why I didn't produce a video your right (ha).

Error: she/he and his/her

A few ASL students also sometimes mix up with she/he and his/her where there is no gender in pronouns, both subject and object, in ASL. Make sure not to confuse a personal pronoun with a possessive pronoun.

Not only those are confusing, a few ASL students also sometimes use the ASL possessive pronoun their for English plural pronoun they.

Few ASL students may continue these errors into ASL 200 and further, despite that they were corrected every time. If you find yourself in this niche, break your habit.

Common production errors

Some ASL students may encounter a common production error of the following pairs of ASL signs that you can avoid to make the same mistake.

The ASL signs make and coffee with their difference in movement can be sometimes found confusing in ASL classes.

Another common confusing production is the difference of the handshape between the manual letters F and D, especially in ASL 101.


Common semantic errors

Some ASL words have different meanings for one same ASL sign; likewise, some English words have multiple meanings for one same word. For example, the English word run can have several different meanings in their contextual sentences.

When translating from one word in a language to another, one cannot use the same word for multiple meanings in another language.

A common semantic confusion that a few ASL students may make in ASL is the English word like as in affection and as in "same as". Use different signs for these two different meanings.

Related posts

How to avoid common redundancy in sign language.