The five parameters (handshape, movement, location, palm orientation, and non-manual signal) are the smallest units of sign language. I.e. A single ASL word/sign is made up of the five parameters. Each parameter has a set of primes.
How many handshapes are there in ASL? Originally, the Dictionary of American Sign Language by Stokoe et al. listed 19 handshape primes in the 1960s. Over time, ASL linguists listed over 50 handshapes. There is no consensus on the specific number of handshapes. Generally speaking, there is over 50 handshape primes.
The handshape system of the "Handspeak handshape chart" below was developed by Jolanta Lapiak for the reverse dictionary in early 2000s and occasionally modified since then. E.g. baby 0's have been moved to 20. The chart is for a general illustration.
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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 a useful review for intermediate-level learners and ASL students 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.)
Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.
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.