Title
Are you sure?
As of June 30, 2018, live e-Tutoring has been discontinued. Please click here for more information.

Want more lessons? Sign up today.

Choose the subscription that is right for you in order to access your full language learning experience.

Word Order and Signing Space

Word Order

You just learned a few sentences, including the following questions:


Where are you from?
                       WH-Q
PRO-2 FROM WHERE?

and


What is your name?
                       WH-Q
PRO-2 NAME WHAT?  

Notice the word order shown in the gloss for those sentences: the question word comes at the end of the sentence. This is because ASL follows a Topic/Comment syntax: the topic of the sentence comes first, followed by commentary. You’ll see more examples of this as you continue your studies, but keep this in mind for now as you learn longer sentences – it’s important to remember that the word order in ASL will be a little different from its English translation.

Signing Space

Signing space is where most of the signing occurs. When you are signing in ASL, you will make use of the space in front of your body and sometimes, on specific body parts such as the chest, forehead, chin, or arm. See some examples below:

On Chin


mom
MOM


cute
CUTE

On Forehead


dad
DAD


forgot
FORGOT

On Chest


my
MY


please
PLEASE

On Arm


slow
SLOW


improve
IMPROVE

In Front of Body


now
NOW


you
YOU