[Sw-l] Lexically significant hand positions in ASL

David Zitzelsberger dazitzel at LIVE.COM
Thu Feb 25 22:12:23 UTC 2021

Question for native ASL users. Mostly out of curiosity.

Some background first...
I've been using SW for ASL vocabulary as I learn ASL and hand location is a struggle for me when typing.

So I downloaded the SignMaker dictionary and wrote some programs to try and analyze the FSW for where hands are likely to be (hoping to adjust the Rand keyboard with a limited number of locations for my personal use).

I eventually settled on analyzing the location of the right hand when there is also a face because that gave me useful focus locations. I can always come back to other situations later ;)

The results were different than I expected though in retrospect they mostly made sense except for one location.

For some reason that baffles me the right hand shows a large number of x,y locations where the left eye is drawn. No matter how long I stare at it, it's like finding out that a difficult to pronunce consonant is the most common letter in a naturally occurring aural language.

So, finally, the question  ...

How does that finding line up with native ASL users.
In a "normal" conversation are you more likely to place your dominant hand near your opposing eye than you are to place it near your matching eye.

Or is there something else going on: word lists are different than sentences; some aspect of FSW I've overlooked; it will make more sense as my ASL improves, yes it is strange but that's ASL, ???

As I said. Just curious but if some native speakers have some insight I'd love to hear it.


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