[sw-l] left-handed or right-handed?

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Mon Dec 6 18:59:10 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
December 6, 2004

Hello Neil! What a great message...I like your relaxed, unworried
approach...And I personally have never seen a problem with
reading...people read both left and right handed signs well and
oftentimes don't even notice the difference...

The only time I have had problems with this issue, was when I tried to
force someone to write differently than they sign...and that is why
there were tears at the time...but since that experience I have learned
to lighten up and just relax...My thinking is this...."So what if
someone writes left handed signs?" So far no teacher has told me that
was a bad thing...

And as Neil just explained, he is left-handed but can adapt and that is
what seems to be happening for lots of people...

So if I were a teacher I would not make a big deal out of it, but just
explain signs can be written both ways...and leave it at that! The more
relaxed we are, the better for the students...

A quick story relating to relaxing with students...There is a person
who knows ASL well...a young Deaf teacher's assistant...who was
concerned that if students didn't learn to write perfect ASL grammar
then we were destroying the language...but since that time, other
teachers have told me that the kids are not stupid, and they start
realizing they should be writing better grammar and are teaching the
teachers ASL grammar...and they are all learning together. So rather
than being worrisome, this was a very positive experience, giving the
Deaf students a feeling of self-esteem...smile...I wish the world could
live and work together as well!

Val ;-)

On Dec 6, 2004, at 8:09 AM, Neil Bauman wrote:

> Hi Sandy:
>> While left-handedness may be virtually unnoticeable in actual
>> signing, it's
>> a different matter in classes of sign-language learners. I have no
>> experience of teaching children but this makes me wonder if a
>> left-handed
>> Deaf child would be discriminated against quite severely if having to
>> learn
>> their first writing system from a right-handed dictionary.
> I'm left-handed and when taking signing classes, or learning out of
> books, I just transpose the signs to fit my handedness. Thus if the
> teacher is standing in front of me and showing how to make a sign, I
> just use the hands on the same side to make the sign (mirroring).
> Since the teacher's right side is my left side when facing me, this
> makes it easy.
> When reading signwriting, since it is written from the expressive
> view, if I were going to try to sign what I read, I'd just use the
> hands as though it was written from the receptive view. That's how I
> compensate.
> I'd much rather have only one way of writing signs--so as not to get
> confused. So it doesn't bother me that signwriting is shown
> right-handed. After all, about 90% of people are right-handed. I write
> signs right-handed, but when signing, I sign left-handed.
> Anyway, that is my personal opinion on this subject. We lefties learn
> to adapt as we have to do lots of things "backwards" in this
> right-handed world.
> Regards
>                                                 Neil
> Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
> Center for Hearing Loss Help
> 49 Piston Court
> Stewartstown, PA 17363
> Phone: (717) 993-8555
> FAX: (717) 993-6661
> Email: neil at hearinglosshelp.com
> Website: http://www.hearinglosshelp.com

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