HELP in sign language

ASL sign for HELP

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Meaning: Definition: To give assistance to (someone); make it easier for (someone) to do something.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant upright "10" handshape on the top of the passive (palm orientation up), both hands moving upward.

The verb HELP can be inflected to agree with the subject/object.

Meaning: Assistance; the action of helping someone to do something. E.g. IX-me NEED YOUR HELP+.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant upright "10" handshape tapping twice on the top of the passive (palm orientation up). Phonological variation: sometimes the passive palm taps.

Related signs: ASSIST, SUPPORT.

Baby signing HELP

Watch how a baby/child acquires the ASL word HELP in a time lapse as a case study. Not all children develop the same way.

The baby "Juli" began using HELP pretty often at age 1;2 for the next few months. Then she expressed in different ways (e.g. HOW?). It's interesting to watch the phonological development.

Robbin Battison in the 1970s observed the constraints on the non-dominant hand of two-handed signs in ASL. Symmetry dominance states that if two hands made the same movement or alternating movement, then both hands consist of the same handshape.

Because this sign requires both hands to move at the same time, the infant used the same handshape for both hands. It may be challenging for an infant to move both hands with two different handshapes in the early development.

Another observation of the movement in the video is that in the early stage of the sign HELP, the movement was upward and downward repeatedly. Then later in the middle stage, the movement was downward but with one sharp, firm movement. After that, the movement became upward.

First 100 words.

  1. again
  2. also
  3. ask
  4. because
  5. boy
  6. but
  7. can
  8. come
  9. condone
  10. deaf
  11. different
  12. drink
  13. drive
  14. eat
  15. email
  16. family
  17. feel
  18. few
  19. find
  20. fine
  21. fingerspell
  22. finish
  23. food
  24. for
  25. forget
  26. friend
  27. get
  28. girl
  29. give
  30. go
  31. good
  32. have
  33. he
  34. hearing
  35. hello
  36. help
  37. home
  38. how
  39. Internet
  40. know
  41. later
  42. like (feeling)
  43. little
  44. live
  45. man
  46. many
  47. me
  48. meet
  49. more
  50. my
  51. name
  52. need
  53. new
  54. no
  55. not
  56. now
  57. ok, okay
  58. old
  59. other
  60. please
  61. remember
  62. same
  63. say
  64. school
  65. see
  66. she
  67. should
  68. sign, signed word
  69. slow
  70. some
  71. sorry
  72. store
  73. take
  74. tell
  75. text, sms
  76. thank, thank you
  77. their
  78. they
  79. think
  80. time
  81. tired
  82. try
  83. understand
  84. use
  85. wait
  86. want
  87. what
  88. when
  89. where
  90. which
  91. who
  92. why
  93. will
  94. with
  95. woman
  96. work
  97. write
  98. yes
  99. you
  100. your

As you feel more comfortable with the first few hundreds of ASL signs, progress further with your vocabulary and learn signing more.