Hello again ASL-enthusiasts! The ONU ASL Club has been up and running since the 2009-2010 school year, and has been diligently pursuing knowledge about Deaf culture and ASL formally ever since. Since our humble beginnings, we have learned a few ASL grammar lessons, which are listed and described briefly below.

  • Introduction to topicalization: This is the subject of things other than the signs made by the hands, such as things done with the face and body while signing. When asking questions, such as those on the “Wh- questions list”, the signer’s eyebrows are to be down. If the signer is asking a question that can be answered with “yes/no”, the signer’s eyebrows are to be raised.
  • Introduction to sentence structure: One can understand the way an ASL sentence is structured using the picture drawing method. If one was trying to sign: “The cat ran up the tree”, one would first draw the tree, cat, and then motion of the cat. Typically, the ASL sentence is created in the order of:
    1. time
    2. subject
    3. object
    4. verb
    5. question
    6. negation
  • Personal Descriptors: To describe different types of people, sometimes one must turn a noun into a person. For example, “art” becomes “artist” by signing the word “art” followed by adding the double “p” down motion afterwards for “person”– making “art person” into “artist”.
  • Signer’s Perspective: When explaining things spatially, such as the setup of a room, one must first set up the perimeter of the space. This is to be done, as the subject name implies, from the signer’s perspective [They describe the room from the doorway as they would see it from inside the doorway]. Then, the signer goes about describing the room from either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction from the outermost perimeter of the room and cycling in until they have reached the room’s center. Relativity can be used to place things in the pre-determined room. If the “listener” were to repeat the room back to the initial signer, they would do so from their own perspective [They would still describe the room from the doorway as they would see it from inside the doorway].
  • Talking about Multiple People: When talking about multiple people, it is common for the signer to assign a space on the signing plane to each party by signing the character’s name/name-sign and “placing” them. Then every time that character is referred to, the signer specifies that spot, instead of resigning the name/name-sign each time.
  • Recounting a Conversation: Something about leaning to designate which speaker said what.