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.

Related posts

Learn about dominance rules why it's the way it is.

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.)

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.