An ezine for students and teachers of
American Sign Language.

spacer.gif (42 bytes) spacer.gif (42 bytes) Volume 1, Issue 29   

 December, 2005   

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Hello ASL Heroes!
For those of you using my website (, I want to give you a "heads up" regarding some changes (improvements hopefully ) to the site and the curriculum.  Around January 1 of the new year I'll be uploading the 2006 edition of the ASLU (American Sign Language University) curriculum.  As you know, this is very much a "living" curriculum and it will continue to evolve.  If you are a teacher (or a student) and are using the curriculum--your questions, comments, and suggestions are certainly welcome.

Bill's recommended ASL pick of the month: 
If you have a toddler, this website offers an entertaining and fun interactive online ASL playground where your toddler can learn nearly a hundred
ASL - American Sign Language concepts. The software has 6 scenes. Each scene has a story, a song, music, a vocabulary section and games, to demonstrate and practice the words learned in that scene--all for the very decent price of $3 for a one-week online rental.  I have personally reviewed this product and think it is terrific!

In a message dated 10/13/2005 2:48:33 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, nanettehuijs@_____813 writes:

Dear Bill,
I am an interpreter of Dutch Sign Language and just started your online ASL course. I have a question about mouthing, because in Dutch Signing mouthing is used frequently; in fact, one has to use mouthing on almost every noun. You understand I have some difficulty not to mouth while signing ASL, so I’d like to know exactly what I’m doing so I can do it right from the start.
I read a few comments on mouthing on your website where you state that mouthing is sometimes used by some signers. My question is: how do they use it? With what (groups of) signs can mouthing be combined? Is the use of mouthing something ‘accidental’, or a regulated part of the language?
Or would you advise me to just stop mouthing at all so I won’t confuse myself too much? Thanks,
Nanette Huijs

Great questions!   Some Deaf people mouth more than others.
Some signs seem to be mouthed more often than others.  From what I've observed, those signs that have multiple English translations tend to be mouthed more frequently than those that have only one English translation.  For example, I bet that if you were to videotape a thousand Deaf people signing, you'd see more people mouth the word "important: worthy, critical, valuable..." than would mouth the word "shoes."  Perhaps someday someone will research this topic.  It is safe to say though that occasional mouthing of English words in ASL is commonplace.
Certainly what is NOT being mouthed is "word after word in English grammatical word order."
Note there are many ASL signs that require specific mouth movements called "mouth morphemes."
There are some definite rules regarding the use of mouth morphemes to inflect the meaning of ASL signs. The word "morpheme" is a linguistic term.  Morphemes are "the smallest units of a language that carry  meaning." Researchers have found there are over 50 common mouth morphemes in American Sign Language (ASL). These mouth movements are not "English words" but rather they are parts of facial expressions that change or influence the meaning of signs. For example, pursing the lips as if saying "oo" while doing the sign for "thin" can inflect the sign to mean "very thin."

Dr. Bill

In a message dated 10/14/2005 3:14:51 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Dear Bill,
I came across your website and wanted to ask you a question. 
I homeschool my children in Indonesia.  I want very much for them to learn sign language and would like to know which one to teach them.   I have a small ASL book and I just purchased a larger Signed English Book.  I did not realize there was a difference until the book was already over here.  I have researched online about both a bit and still am not sure which is the best one to teach.  I have a hard time getting school materials, but figure I can use this nice website you have to get started until I get back to the USA if you think that ASL is used more.  I also do not really have anyone they can practice with so it would just be me and my husband until we were back in the USA.  Oh, I guess I would like to see them be able communicate with the hearing impaired and be able to do ministry type (signing in church etc) communication so maybe that will help.  You never know what we will encounter in life.
Thanks for any help you can give,
Sherry Miles
Each system of communication has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Signed English is useful when discussing English and for helping to familiarize Deaf people with the nuances of English.
My recommendation though is that you teach your children American Sign Language (ASL). Here in the United States ASL fulfills "foreign language requirements" at many colleges.  Signed English does not. 
The majority of adult Deaf people converse amongst themselves using ASL, not Signed English.
ASL grammar and lexicon (signs) are better suited to gestural articulation (being expressed through the hands) than English grammar and lexicon (words).
Dr. Bill Vicars

In a message dated 10/18/2005 2:17:11 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

I know that I use the sign HAPPEN rather than WHEN at times, and I know when to use each, but I can't explain why I do to my students.  Could you help me out?
I think that I tend to use WHEN when I am being time specific and HAPPEN for a more general time period, but I can't figure that out for sure.


Use "HAPPEN" for English meanings similar to: occur, take place, befall, materialize, result, come about.  HAPPEN is a way of stating "something is being done," "something will be done," or "something was done."

Notice also the similarity between the sign HAPPEN and the initialized concepts: "CHANCE" and "place a BET."

Use "HAPPEN" for English phrases similar to, "When I met her I fell in love." The reason is that in such a sentence the word "when" is an abbreviated form of the phrase "when it so happened."  Here is a guideline:  If you could extend that sentence to say, "When it so happened that I fell in love with her..." then it is a safe bet to use the sign HAPPEN to express the meaning.

Also use "HAPPEN" for statements like, "When you go, I want you to take your brother."  That is because what you are really saying is, "When such and such happens, I want you to take your brother."

So we can see that "HAPPEN" is a statement of occurance.  Occurances can become references for time--but only in context.  Which is to say, HAPPEN is not an indicator of time unless those involved in the conversation have a mutual understanding that a certain occurance coincides with a particular clock or calendar time.  HAPPEN DAD ARRIVE HOME, WE GO RESTAURANT.  If everyone in the house knows Dad gets home at 5:30, then there would be no need for anyone to ask "WHEN?"

HAPPEN can be expressed as either a statement or a question.
If a person signs "HAPPEN-(whq) [done with a furrowed brow and a forward thrust of the head] it can be interpreted as "What happened?"

The sign WHEN is used to seek information regarding clock or calendar time. 

The sign "WHEN" is almost always expressed as a question: WHEN-"whq" [done with a furrowed brow].

It is occasionally used to make statements like "I don't-KNOW WHEN-(neutral)," but could easily be replaced by, "I don't-KNOW TIME" or "I don't-KNOW DAY." 

Understand though that language is ever changing.  It is my observation that more and more ASL users are using the sign WHEN as a statement similar to the way HAPPEN is used.  A person could say that this is an erroneous usage. But it will only be an "error" until enough people use it in that manner for a long enough period of time--at that point the new usage will be "standard."

In a message dated 11/1/2005 11:30:06 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
Dr. Bill:
I am a hearing person who has always been fascinated with ASL and decided to take a nighttime class at our local community college.  Our teacher is deaf, so we started out with total immersion, which probably is the best way to learn a "foreign" language.  Is it considered rude to refer to ASL as that?  I don't want to be rude in several languages, please let me know if that is a faux pas. 
Sandre R. Maxwell
Kent, WA
No, it is not rude to refer to ASL as a foreign language, however I would suggest that you might simply want to refer to it as a "second" language.  Most (US) colleges accept ASL in fulfillment of "foreign language requirements" for entrance and/or graduation.  [There are still "holdouts" though that haven't joined the 21st century.]
Many "language departments" at colleges are now calling themselves "Department of Modern Languages" because the term "foreign" refers to languages that are not spoken in the local area.  Here in America it would NOT be accurate to claim that "Spanish," "German," "French," "Japanese," "Chinese," etc., are not spoken here.  There are numerous ethnic communities in America where these and many other languages are spoken.  So, should we really call them "foreign?"  As time goes on, the term "foreign language" will become less, and less applicable.
Linguists often use the term "target language" or even just "L2"--which stands for "second language."  For many Deaf people ASL is their "native" or first language.  Also, many Deaf grow up bilingual--having learned ASL and English either concurrently (at the same time) or sequentially (one then the other).
Dr. Bill

In a message dated 11/3/2005 7:19:05 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
Hi Dr. Vicars,

I wanted to follow up about "A Canadian questions a sign for CANADA"

I was smiling when Aylene Gracie was asking about our government channel (CPAC)
where they have an ASL interpreter translating the question period and"it seems
we have a very different sign for Canada up here in..."

I can answer that. I grew up from Ottawa, Ontario and I am also using ASL as my
first language. (me Deaf).
The bubble on our government channel is using LSQ, langue de signe du Québec.
They never provide ASL on bubble cuz we have english closed captioning.

In Quebec, French Deaf people are using LSQ. Maritime in east side of Canada are
using MSL, Maritime Sign Language.
And the rest from British Columbia to Ontario are using ASL. The only difference
is some dialects.

Hope it helps and Please let Aylene know about it.

Regent Gendron
Hey, that's terrific information!  Thanks for sharing it.  That certainly clears things up!
Take care,

In a message dated 9/27/2005 5:51:36 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Hi Dr. Vicars,
 First, let me apologize if this information is in your FAQ.  If it is, I couldn't find it.
 I am an ASL student; however, the fall class (ASL 3) at my local college was cancelled due to lack of enrollment.  I am quickly losing my signing skills since the last class, ASL 2, ended in May.  You know the old adage--use it or lose it!  I'd like to keep up my skills by chatting live via webcam in ASL with other ASL users.  Do you know of any sites like this?
Secondly, our college has organized an Interpreter Training Program Advisory Board of which I am a member.  When they began offering ASL in the fall of 2004, no research had been done as to the feasibility of an ITP in our community, the need in the community for more interpreters, or the interest in students enrolling in an ITP.  Needless to say, the program was poorly run and students did not enroll for fall 2005 but rather went to other colleges.  (The closest college that offers an ITP is a little over an hour away from me.)  The Advisory Board has to research all of these issues.  Can you tell me the best places to begin researching the needs of the Deaf Community so that we get true numbers as to how many people would use certified interpreters (vs. family members) if they knew the service was available?  Where is the best place to find out how many people in a geographical area are deaf?  We can get some information from one of our school districts who has a large Deaf Community.
Thanks for you help! 
Marta Andrews-Suttorp
Hello.  Sorry for the delay in responding.  I've chained myself to this keyboard for most of the day and have my email list down to 62 left. Heh. I won't get them all tonight...but maybe a few more.
You asked about the best places for researching the Deaf Community.
I recommend you check with the Center for Assessment and Demographic Studies at Gallaudet University.
Here's a pertinent link:
Note: They will confirm what you've already found is very difficult to obtain reliable data pertaining to this subject.
I also suggest you consider contacting:
Center for the Preparation of  Educational Interpreters   NTID at RIT, LBJ-1234
 Lomb Memorial Drive,  Rochester, NY 14623-5604
 Also, do a google for:  ASL Program Proposal
and:  Interpeter for the Deaf program Proposal
You will come across numerous examples of program proposals that you can glean ideas from regarding what they did.

If you haven't checked with your state's school for the deaf, I suggest you do so:
Now, about live video chat...I don't know of a "go and chat" place for hearies who want to practice their ASL skills.  But I suggest you visit and to get a feel for the technology that is out there.  Here is a site that I know of for "chat" but I don't know if they use video yet:
I know of an ASL tutor who will chat via video for a fee. But I know of no "free" sites for that sort of thing.
Also, you might enjoy my fingerspelling site:
Best wishes for your success.
(Dr. Bill of / ASLU)
William Vicars, Ed.D.
Director CCE Online and Immersion ASL Programs
CSUS College of Continuing Education
6000 J St. - Eureka Hall, Room 308
Sacramento, CA 95819-6079

In a message dated 11/2/2005 12:05:56 AM Pacific Standard Time, a mother writes:
Dr. Bill:
My son Nicholas, 2 1/2 doesn't speak (apraxia?) but is learning to sign.  He knows the sign for "bug," which he can't really do very well, but seems to want a different sign for ANT or ANTS since they are so tiny.  He knows the sign for "butterfly" too, so I suspect he realizes different bugs have more specific names. 
I did do a search of your sight and the only reference to "ant" was the humorous division of the word "elephant."  (I suppose we could do "tiny elephant" if we get desperate.  Tee-hee.  (c;'  )
-Tamerra Teti-
In ASL, the sign BUG is often used to mean "ant."   For example, you might spell the word "A-N-T" at the beginning of the conversation, and immediately show the sign "BUG" and from then on in that specific conversation you would just sign "BUG" to mean "ant."  Also, you might notice that some Deaf choose to mouth the word "ant" while signing bug. Some do. Some don't.  Personally, I'd just spell the concept and then use  "wriggling bent-5 handshapes" to show how the colony moves as a whole, or a closed-G handshape to show the movement of a single ant.
There is a signed English version of "ant" that places an "A" handshape on top of a down turned "claw" handshape. Then you move the sign forward while wiggling the fingers of the bottom hand as if they were insect legs moving forward.

By Bill Vicars, Ed.D.

A Tale of Two Trucks
Cultural Deafness is a choice.  I have a hearing loss, but I am culturally Deaf by virtue of the fact that I choose to be.  I choose to sign.  I choose to work in a Deaf-related field. I married a Deaf woman. I choose to attend a Deaf Church. I choose to have Deaf friends. I set up an ASL website. I choose to immerse myself in this world.
I'm proud to be a member of the Deaf community.
Physical deafness is defined as "partially or completely lacking in the sense of hearing" (  This definition includes two groups or subsets:  those who are "completely" lacking in the sense of hearing, and those who are partially lacking.  Both groups are, by dictionary definition, deaf.
I am one of those in the "partially" lacking subset.  People in the partially lacking subset" are typically referred to as "hard of hearing."

To help you understand how a person can be hard of hearing and yet be "deaf" lets consider for a moment the word, "truck."  There are two main kinds of trucks:  2-wheel drives (2x4) and four by fours (4x4's).   Both are trucks and for everyday purposes we refer to them as trucks.  When we announce that a neighbor is moving, we ask people to show up with their trucks to help with the move.  We do not say, "bring your 2-wheel drive trucks and your 4x4's." We just say "truck."
There are times however when we specifically refer to 2-wheel drives or 4x4's.  Two examples are when discussing:
1.  Ability:  When we are discussing actual physical ability that has an application to our needs. For example:  It is snowing and we need a 4x4 because a 2-wheel drive would be more likely to get stuck.
2.  Pride:  4x4 owners are proud of their machines and occasionally it shows. They put stickers in their windows proclaiming their status as a 4x4.  Two-wheel drives are of lower status and do not advertise their status.

Hard of hearing people are the 2-wheel drives of the Deaf world.  We are still trucks.  We are still Deaf. Just of lower status.
A 2-wheel drive truck owner my decide to "rice out his wheels" (make his truck fancy).  A custom  paint job, lots of chrome, expensive accessories, and a lift kit or hydraulics.  The owner of such a 2-wheel drive truck will manage to garner quite a bit of respect.  In the city anyway.  That's like me.  I'm of a lower status because of my subset (I'm hard of hearing) but I have various degrees and certifications which help out some.
The problem though, is if the owner of a fancy 2-wheel drive truck starts acting like he is hot stuff...the proud 4x4 owners will quickly begin making comments like, "Yeah, but it'd look better with some mud."  Meaning, that if it were a "real" truck (4x4) it could go up in the mountains and splash around in the mud, but since it isn't a "real" truck it can't get any mud and therefore is not as good as a 4x4.
There is another label that is of interest to me.  It is the "slash" existence.  Deaf "slash" hard of hearing, or "Deaf/HOH." Sometimes when I introduce myself or in response to someone's questioning I refer to myself (in sign) as "DEAF HOH." This is an attempt to establish my cultural affiliation but to not overstate my status.  I'm not alone in this.  I've seen many other "slash" people out there.  If I introduce myself as being Deaf (without the "slash" HOH) that immediately cues the other person to start asking which deaf school I went to or if I went to Gallaudet.  This is natural because it provides a means of quickly establishing connections that will help us exchange information about classmates and mutual friends.  By adding the HOH to my introduction my conversational partner will be less likely to waste time searching for assumed connections that don't exist and will instead focus on finding other connections.

The fact is I am both Deaf and Hard of Hearing:  Deaf (slash) HOH
 What is the slash?  What are the factors that determine when I'm functionally Deaf and when I can function as a hard of hearing person? Check it out:
I am deaf in these situations:
o  background noise
o  light behind speaker
o  mustache
o  speaker has accent
o  speaker has speech impediment
o  Air Conditioner is running
o  Small child's voice
o  Hearing Aid battery is dead
o  Person on TV is "off camera or not facing the camera." Also if the TV is more than a few feet away.
o  Person is more than a few feet away or speaks at below 60 decibels
o  Person covers his mouth or turns to write on the blackboard.
o  You are standing on my right (85 decibel loss)
o  It's time to take out the garbage

I am Hard of Hearing in these situations:
o  Quiet environment
o  Appropriate lighting
o  Clear view of mouth
o  Amplifier on phone
o  I have my hearing aid on
o  Standard American English articulation
o  Person is within a few feet and speaks at 70 decibels or above.
o  Person isn't chewing gum, smoking, or eating.
o  Person on TV is facing the camera, his mouth movements can be seen, and the volume is at 70 decibels
o  Some song lyrics if they are dominant and the graphic equalizer is set at a reverse "cookie bite."
o  you are standing on my left  (55 decibel loss)
o  It's time to eat.

In a message dated 10/23/2005 6:29:21 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Dorsey writes:
Dear Dr. Vicars,
I was just shown  your web site stating what it means to be "Culturally" deaf. I was appalled by some of what I read. Although I applaud your efforts to help the deaf, I find it incomprehensible to think that anyone would prefer to be deaf, rather than hearing. I can only assume you have never had normal hearing or you would not hold this view. A deaf person may develop sufficient language skills to communicate with other deaf people, but he fails to be able to easily communicate with the majority of the society in which he lives. Surely this is a disadvantage. A deaf person cannot experience the beauty of the sounds of nature such as water, wind, birds, pets, etc. And a deaf person cannot experience the beauty of music; one of the great artistic expressions of the human race.
It is good to accept ones limitations, and do the best to compensate for them. But aren't there more advantages to being intelligent than mentally slow?
Jesus healed the deaf. Why do so if it is not better to be hearing?
Dorsey Brandenburg
It could be argued that men have it better off in society than women. 
For example, there is research showing that men on average receive higher pay than women for the same amount and type of work. 
So then--since being male is advantageous--do you wish you were male?
Bill Vicars
Note:  In response to Dorsey's message (above) the following email was submitted 12/27/2005, writes:
Sadly the hearing will never hear a rainbow or know what a smile sounds like.. I pity them - for my silent world allows my eyes to see what no mans ears can.
- R. Kersting

In a message dated 10/25/2005 7:57:40 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
I teach in a public high school and use your website as a supplement for my class. You've done a great job, I love it!!!!  My students always ask "How do you sign (English slang word)?"  If I know the ASL equivalent (and it's appropriate for school) I'll show them, but otherwise my answer is "think of the concept you are trying to convey, now what are some synonyms for that idea, now look up the sign for that gloss"  Would you agree or do you have a better way?  My students know that you are one of my "heroes in the Deaf community" and would love for you to visit our class.  I don't think the school district would pay for it though :( Thank you for your time!
Brandy Everly
American Sign Language
You are right on in your method of dealing with English slang.
Hey, thanks for the words of praise.
Where is your high school?  Maybe I'll be in your area someday.
Take care,

In a message dated 10/28/2005 11:27:39 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Hi Bill  My name is Chris B. Prinz due to an acoustic neuroma I'm 100% deaf on the right side at the age of 45,  Is it to late for me to learn ASL it seems to be pretty intense? an how would be the easiest for an old goat suck as my self.
Hello Chris,
I won't lie to you and tell you that it will be easy to pick up a second language at age 45.
It can certainly be done. People can learn ASL at any age--it just becomes much more challenging the older we become.
The more exposure you have to the language: classes, books, videos, study groups, ASL socials, etc. the faster you will learn it.
But the real question is:  At age 45 are you in a position to change your "culture?"  You've spent 45 years making friends and interacting with hearing people. Now you apparently are being forcibly thrust into a new world of silence.  It is a world filled with interpreters, ttys, sidekicks, relays, video-phones, captioning, and flying fingers.  Even if you never pick up on the flying fingers... you will still benefit from VCO (voice carry over phone relays) or "Captel" (captioned) phones.  You should certainly take at least one or two ASL classes to see how you like it.  Then after you've learned some survival signing...attend a few Deaf socials in your area.
If you haven't done so, check out your state's "division of vocational rehabilitation" because they might be able to pay for your ASL training, plus send you back to school to learn new job skills.
Also, visit your library and check out any ASL/Deaf-culture related books.
Dr. Bill

In a message dated 10/28/2005 3:58:30 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Dr. Vicars (Bill)

I recently began teaching ASL I & II at the high school level. I began
learning sign some time ago (late 70s, early 80s). I took my classes at
Santa Ana College under Herb Terreri (recently retired after around 30

Anyways, when I learned the sign for "pizza" I learned it as open-5 w/
crooked fingers, palm up, touching the heal of the hand to the side of the
chin (like you're eating a piece of pizza). (*)

My second level students learned the "double z" way [incorrectly] which I'd
never seen (been out of touch for a bit, learning Spanish). My point is,
when they sign it, the sign looks like the sign for "snake", not the way you
demonstrate it (slowly, side-to-side).

I've also seen the initialized "P" triangled in the palm of the non-dominant

I was just curious if you'd ever seen the way I learned pizza (*)?

Thank you for your time!
Cynthia Kaniski (name sign..."C" like "twin")

Hello Cynthia,
I haven't seen the method you describe.  I asked my wife, Belinda, and she hasn't seen it either. (That doesn't mean it isn't a decent sign, it just means it just isn't in much circulation.)
Up here in Sacramento a version that seems quite popular is to use a modified-bent "b" palm up near the mouth as if representing a slice of pizza.  The "b" is actually upside down, with the fingers pointing toward your mouth. To make it work you have to turn your wrist at a bit of a weird angle, thus the sign is somewhat awkward. I'll see if I can do a picture of it and post it within a day or two to my "pizza" page.
I know what you mean about students "mislearning" the double-z version of the sign.  I'm going to get rid of that variation from my web page and go with a "zza" version that my wife likes.  Like you, I noticed a few students were signing "snake" instead of pizza. That simply won't do.
Note: my "pizza" page is at: 

In a message dated 11/1/2005 5:21:11 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:

Just to let people in Canada know, there is a book "The Canadian Dictionary
of ASL", editors Carole Sue Bailey and Kathy Dolby at
It is developed by the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, and has a
bunch of ASL editors from across Canada.

On page LXXX, it shows the sign for Canada as the A hand hitting the right
side of the chest 2 times. The contact point is the middle third of the
curled up fingers. The thumb is pointing up. On the 2nd hit, the A hand
remains on the chest


In a message dated 11/23/2005 8:45:12 PM Pacific Standard Time, Brenda writes:
Hi again....  I just wanted to get your thoughts on a couple of signs ... in preparation for a performance party with my ASL 3 students....
I am having them do "I Heard the Bells"... an old Christmas favorite of mine.   Two signs:
1.  "BELL"   followed immediately by "RINGING"... how  is the best way to handle this?
I wanted to get back to you much earlier on this...and as it is, I've only just now managed to get a "bell" page done.
Specifically, the answer to your question is to do the initial clap of the bell, and then drag the clapper through the air a bit showing the reverberation of the ringing in the air. (Sort of like the sign "green" heh).
2.  Good "WILL"  to men....   What is the concept of "WILL?"   I have my thoughts but will refrain from stating so as not to influence you. smile
To deal with that phrase, we need to adjust the quotes.  Instead of quotes around "WILL" we need to think of it as a phrase "good will to men" and figure out the meaning of the phrase.
"Good will to men" means to honestly want the best for other people. To genuinely hope that things go well for them in their lives.
The tempting thing to do is to simply sign GOOD _________ OFFER PEOPLE and fill in the blank with "something" like ENJOY-(appreciate).  Such a construct flows well with the music and stays within a Hearing caroler's comfort zone of producing one sign for each voiced concept. 
It is a compromise.  (But, the fact is, most successful intercultural relations are built on compromise and a willingness to meet halfway.)
An interpretation you might want to consider is: 
or my favorite:
I'm interested to find out what variation you used.
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that the ASL 3 performance party went well.

In a message dated 11/17/2005 5:42:27 AM Pacific Standard Time, obrienk2@ writes:
I want to teach kids in my class to say "We Wish you a merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year." So I was going to teach them the sign for "We
Wish You" leave out "a" then "merry Christmas and" leave out "a" Happy
New Year. My question is this.
1.  ...I was going to teach them to sign "We" by using a W handshape from
left to right in circular motion like I have seen in this book I am
reading.(see attached picture) Does it matter which sign for "We" I
should teach them?

2.  Also does it matter if the sign for merry Christmas is a "M" and "C"
or if they use the sign for "happy" then the sign for "Christmas"? One
of your signs for Christmas shows the letter C moved in a shape of a
wreath. Is the hand starting over on the left then coming over like a
semicircle to the right or is it all on the right side.

3. Same thing for new year I was going to show them the sign for "New"
then the sign for "year".

I want to know these questions because as I see all these different
signs for bringing across one concept I am confused if there is a
"right" way to do it and if some challenges me on it I want to be to
explain why I choice a particular sign to use over the other or just say
it was my preference. Also if a deaf person was present I want them not
to feel mocked.

Kaisha N. O'Brien
Technical Manager
Duval County Public Schools
SAP Applications Dept
"To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success!"
I have created a video clip for you.
Or for a bit larger version see:
I recommend you use the "index finger" version of the sign WE.
Yes, there are many ways to sign those particular concepts, the way I demonstrate in that file is a very solid approach.
The MC version of Merry Christmas is very casual.  For the song I recommend the larger "HAPPY CHRISTMAS" version.
Dr. Bill

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