ASL University | Bookstore | Catalog | Dictionary | Lessons | Resources | Syllabi | Library  |  Issue 47, June 2007  |  William G. Vicars Ed.D., Editor


Items this issue:
* A list of three ASL Immersions:  Safari: Boot Camp,  Safari: Disney,  and an 8-credit hour Summer Immersion

In a message dated 5/26/2007 9:52:22 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, bowhuntersmith@ writes:
Dr. Vicars,
I don't know how I have been put on your email list but I am so happy to have been invited.  I have so many questions to ask but virtually no one to ask.  I am currently in a interpreting program and I am really struggling.  I have the greatest difficulty with the receptive skills of fingerspelling. I have failed my class once only to take over again with little improvement.  I cannot find any research on loan signs or lexicalized fingerspelling. What advice can you give me?
Thank you for your time.
Hello. :)
My newsletter list is "opt in." That means people choose to subscribe. You (or one of your friends?) typed your email address in at or at some point in the past directly subscribed.  In any case, I'm glad you like the newsletter. You can find archives of it at
For fingerspelling help, visit my fingerspelling practice website at
(For numbers, see:
To better understand lexicalization, visit my "lexicalized fingerspelling" page at
For a discussion of loan signs, see:
For any other topics of interest, you might try going here: and typing your query into the search box.
Have a nice day.
--Dr. V

In a message dated 6/13/2007 5:36:25 AM Pacific Daylight Time, jgarlin@  writes:
Good Morning, Sir!

I am fortunate to have found your website and resources available. I
would like to learn a little more about ASL, specifically for Martial
Arts instruction.

I have had some experience in the past with hand-signing techniques.
I.E. a "Spinning Side-Kick" would be signed via combination of the
signs for "Spinning", "Side" and "Kick". I am curious to know if there
are condensed signs for techniques, of if combination signing is the
easier way to go.

Also, this would be more relevant for when we teach joint locking in
our self-defense classes. For instance, we have a common techniques
called "Outward Wrist Lock", which is sometimes called "Kotegeish"
(Japanese) or "Sonmak, Bakkat Kukki" (Korean).

I thank you for your time; my contact information follows.


James Garlin
Owner & Head Instructor
Northeast Martial Arts Center
1321 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12205
(518) 435-0870
Your best source on this would probably be Antony Johnson, a deaf martial artist in the Fremont, California Area.
I suggest you call the Self Defense Institute (510) 657- 5558 and see if you can get more information, an email address, or perhaps set up a video conference.
Let me know what you find out.
Dr. Bill

In a message dated 6/23/2007 5:30:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ndnlittlecrow@ writes:
Is the sign EXAMPLE directional? I mean if i started it away from me and brought it towards me then would it mean "You show/give me an example"? Or is it not directional and only moves away from the body and only means "example"? The reason I ask is because EXAMPLE is an initialized form of SHOW, so I was wondering if the same "usage rules" applied to initialized forms of words.  
- Roo
Hi Roo,
The word "show" is a verb.  You can establish "verb agreement" via "directionality."  That means you can modify the movement of the sign "SHOW" to indicate who is showing what to whom.
The word "example" is a noun thus we do not have the same freedom to employ directionality that we would with a verb.
"Example" is somewhat of a special case though because it does have a rare "verb" form: "exemplify."
So, technically, you could construct a sentence along the lines of, "Would you mind exemplifying that for me?"  Which would make a case for employing directionality with the sign "example."
On a personal level, as I sit here signing to myself, playing with the sign, (my family are used to seeing me "sign to myself" and have long since given up worrying whether it is insanity or some other reason) and seeing what "feels" right--I note that it feels okay to sign "give an example to" as one sign/movement, but it "feels" a little "off" to sign "give me an example" using just one sign/movement but still passable.
Dr. V

In a message dated 6/23/2007 5:30:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ndnlittlecrow@ writes:
    Now for the sign ADD-TO and PLUS. I'm confused as about when i should use which sign.  If someone asked me "What is 23 plus 41?", would that use the ADD-TO sign, or the PLUS sign?
- Roo
It is relatively flexible and you will get different opinions from different "experts."  In general if I were talking about basic math I'd use the PLUS sign.  If I have 23 people from the bride's family plus 41 from the groom's family, I'll need 64 chairs.
If I were talking about including more of something to an established amount I'd use the "ADD-TO" sign:  "In addition to the bride and groom's families we will need chairs for the other guests (and some Tylenol)."
--Dr. Bill
In a message dated 6/23/2007 6:30:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time, a student writes:
I wanted to ask you what you thought of as a place for students to practice ASL? I think that it has helped me tremendously with receptive skills!
I think youtube will revolutionize ASL learning.
I-Dr. Bill

Steve Shaffer (whose wife is a vet) writes:

ogs do most of their communicating by "sign" language, what we'd term NMM. We have learned to read and "sign" doggie and sometimes it's rather funny when we don't make the sign very clearly. They'll give you the "wh" look, you try again a little differently and finally they seem to go "Oh! you meant ____" After that they quickly learn to interpret our versions of their signs. Some we can't do, no tail to gesture with for example, but enough to communicate more clearly. Communicating to them in a way they understand really reduces their stress and makes for a better relationship. This has also served as an inspiration to me to do the same for my fellow human beings with whom spoken communication isn't feasible.

God Bless you!


American Sign Language University William Vicars