This introduces you to the pronominal system and spatial referencing in sign language. You will learn about pronominalization, using pronouns and others in ASL (American Sign Language).
There is no gender for pronouns in ASL unless you mention a gender in context (e.g. "A woman.. she..") in sentences. For this demonstration, there is no gender mentioned so she and he are interchangeable.
Pronouns are the most familiar ones, such as personal pronouns and possessive pronouns.
For personal pronouns, use your index finger (e.g. you, s/he, it). For possessive pronouns (e.g. your, my, their, etc), use the whole hand with closed fingers.
Gloss: IX1 POSS2 BROTHER
English equivalent: She/he is his/her brother.
The gloss "IX" that I use on this website represents index-finger pointing (pronoun) and POSS is for a possessive. The number represents a spatial locus. E.g. The locus of IX1 is on the right side and IX2 is on the left side of the signer.
In this case, "She/he (IX1) is his/her (POSS2) brother.
Gloss: IX2 POSS1 STUDENT
English equivalent: She/he is his/her student.
You can establish IX1 in either right or left side and then assign the other side IX2. When talking about one person, one usually uses the dominant side of the signer. When talking about two persons, a signer usually uses the dominant side for the main subject.
Beyond pronouns, there are a few different ways of indexing.
Like pronouns, determiners (e.g. THAT, THIS, etc.) also uses spatial referencing.
Eye-gazing also plays a role in spatial referencing in agreement with the signed words and pronouns.
Eye-gazing also communicates with whom the signer is talking to or it can indicate a referent. If there are two persons present, the signer is talking to Signer A while gazing at Signer A and finger-pointing to Signer B. It means she/he or him/her. If the signer is talking Signer A and finger pointing to Signer A, it means YOU.
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Also see personal pronouns.
Possessive pronouns in sign language.
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This documentation project follows a child's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, from newborn to age five in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.