Level: General

Right- or Left-Handed in Signing?

Most signers are right-handed. The minority of signers are left-handed. Whichever is normal.

"I am dominantly left-handed. Should I sign with my left hand?"

If you are dominantly left-handed, it's perfectly fine to use your left dominant hand in sign language. In virtually all cases, left-handed people are left-handed in signing.

Whichever right- or left-handed you are, be consistent with it. If you are ambidextrous, you should choose one as your dominant hand and stay consistent with it when signing.

"As a left-handed person, how do I sign properly? Should I do the 'mirror image' way?"

Yes, with a few exceptions where you don't use this mirror method when giving a direction or describing a room or a picture from the signer's perspective. You do not want to give the driver a wrong direction by using this mirror approach.:)

A right-handed signer, for example, signs RIGHT-HANDED with her/his dominant right hand. A left-handed signer would sign RIGHT-HANDED with her dominant left hand, pointing to the right. This applies to describing a room or a picture from the signer's perspective.

"I have a permanent paralysis of my arm? How can I sign with one hand? Is it possible?"

Yes, it is workable. Some ASL words are one-handed. Some others are two-handed, in which some of these two-handed words have dominant-passive roles. One can still understand a word without its passive complement.

The video above shows a seven-year-old right-handed kid Juli is signing the ASL word "wedding" while holding the cat in her arm. The sign for "wedding" is normally two-handed.

It is not uncommon that native signers talk with one (usually dominant) hand when s/he holds a baby or a box in the other arm. Or, even a cast on her/his dominant arm. Humans are naturally adaptable.

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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.

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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.