writing switching dominant and non-dominant hands

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jan 25 04:13:26 UTC 2007

Awkward situations, like carrying books, require signs from either hand. I have never been criticized for fingerspelling with left or right hands, signing with either hand depending on my situation, or, if signing a song, changing a reference to a third location deliberately using reversed hands.
  I'd like to see more anectodal evidence before I automatically assume another person's writing is inaccurate, unless I have signed the narrative myself and it comes out "awkward."
  I can usually spot if something is written impossibly, like trying to flip over an already flipped hand, but I do try to edit carefully and question first before I assume anything.  I learned to SW when it was receptive, so I have been reversing things in my head for years.
  Charles Butler

Adam Frost <adam at frostvillage.com> wrote:
  I am ambidetrous as well. Most people do notice when I switch either, but that is because there has to be a reason to switch. (Sorry, just because you like it one way isn't a reason. GRIN) Stories often use the ambidextrious rule (that isn't the term, but I like to call it that) because it does what Cherie was saying: "it keeps your hands from getting tangled when creating a visual description of physical space." There are other reasons as well, but that is a big one.

Just my two cents.


  On 1/24/07, Valerie Sutton <sutton at signwriting.org> wrote:  SignWriting List
January 24, 2007

> Andre wrote:
> You use the left strong (active) hand in your story.  Look at the
> third column (AGAIN): You use the right strong (active) hand and
> the left weak (passive) hand. You are  supposed to use the left 
> strong (active) hand and the right weak (passive) hand.  If the
> signer uses alternative hands, the Deaf community does not like
> them and the signer could be criticized.  For example: President
> King Jordan ofGallaudet University used the two alternative hands
> which bothered the Deaf community because it was confusing or
> uncomfortable to the eyelistener.

That is interesting about the complaint about President King Jordan's 
signing...it may be that people truly skilled in ASL noticed that
President Jordan was not native to signing and so his "accent" was
slightly annoying...He learned to sign later in life and it was his 
second language...

We had the opposite experience, relating to an ambidextrous signer
years ago...(ambidextrous signers are people who are both left and
right handed, and who sometimes mix the dominant hands)... 

One of our DAC members years ago was an ambidextrous signer, born
into a three-generations Deaf family, and no one seemed to criticise
his switching dominant hands because he was such a skilled
signer...smile...I remember asking people about it and they hadn't 
even noticed he did it, but I did because I was writing what he
said ;-))

That is an interesting issue...

Val ;-)

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