Conversational starters in American Sign Language

How does one strike up a conversation with another in a social gathering? Especially when you're an ASL student, it could be a nerve-wracking.

Learn how to use a conversational opener or starter for getting Deaf people's attention and/or to interest them into a conversation in American Sign Language (ASL).

Some common small-talk openers are: "How was your day?", "How are you?", "What's up?", "What's your name?", "How was your weekend?", "Where are you from?" ...

Gloss: how you?
English equivalent: how are you?

This conversational opener how you is common in both formal and informal situations.

Gloss: whats-up?

This another common conversational opener whats-up? is used in an interaction with a buddy, pal, or a close friend in informal settings after a typical hug greeting (or another form of greeting). This phrase asks about the latest update as you two had just recently met or often met.

A friend or an acquaintance may use a variant of the conversation opener, such as NONE SEE-YOU LONG TIME. WHATS-UP?.

Word starters

Some common interjections and word starters are HEY, interj-AWFUL, intej-THRILL, KNOW-THAT, intej-WOW, HEY + INTERESTING, and so on.

NOTE: Don't take these glosses as a literal translation. These glosses represent the ASL signs themselves, not the meanings.

This sentence opener KNOW-THAT is used to get one's attention with an interesting information or fact, begnning with "Did you know that...".

Sentence openers or starters

Among countless conversational openers, these over 15 videos are some examples of the openers used by fluent ASL signers. Some are exciting, attention-getting, casual, etc.

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Related posts

Related topic: greetings.

New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be useful for intermediate-level learners and ASL students to review as well.

Some tutorial pages are a mix of free and premium versions. Access to premium content and links below are available in the PatronPlus subscription. More links/posts will be added from time to time.

Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)