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ASL: Know Your 5 Parameters
Have you ever watched a sign language interpreter in action? Well, after taking American Sign Language (ASL) classes and then moving on to learning the inner workings of an interpreter training program, I learned many aspects of communication by ASL and I would like to share some of them. article. The main and most important component of learning ASL is called settings. Here are the five parameters that constitute the production of signs for communication.
But wait, what are the parameters? Parameters are distinguishing characteristics or notable characteristics used to create signs with meaning in ASL. To produce a sign and relay a meaningful word, this sign must follow five parameters that determine its meaning and tone.
The five parameters are:
- hand shape; this refers to the hand configuration that is used to begin all word production in American Sign Language (ASL). If you are familiar with the ASL alphabet, you will notice that each word begins with one of the forty hand shapes found in the manual alphabet. Here are just three examples of hand shapes: the “c” as in class; the “a” open as in front: the “v” curved like a squirrel.
- Orientation of the palm; this refers to the direction in which the hand is turned to produce a sign. Palm orientation is the direction of your palm which can include palm up, palm down, right palm, left palm, palm out (away from you) or palm out. inside (palm facing you).
- Movement; this refers to the change in the location of the hands within the physical parameters defined during the production of the sign. For example, a sign can move away from you or towards you to indicate a directional verb such as “I give you the book” or “She gives him a pencil”. Movement also refers to the frequency of an action.
- Location; this refers to the physical parameters or bodily location where the sign is produced. General physical parameters for sign language production are about four inches above the head, elbow room as with the hands on the waist, and about four inches below the navel or belly button. Buckle.
- Non-manual markers; also called NMM, are signals or gestures made without the use of the hands and mainly the shoulders, head and face to relay a message. Non-manual ASL markers may include: a head tilt, nod, nod, eyebrow lift, or even a shoulder lift.
The above parameters are necessary components for ASL communication. An interesting note about the settings is that when performing for large audiences, the settings change dramatically. A large audience can include the interpretation of a theatrical performance, a lecture in an auditorium or sporting events. Parameter differences only change in size and the signature space in which the signs are produced. They are enlarged or exaggerated so that the audience can view the interpretation from a distance. As a sign language interpreter myself, I always find it fascinating to see sign language interpreters in action. I’m still learning so much and loving watching how they produce these signs so easily and in ASL settings.
So the next time you meet with a sign language interpreter, observe how these parameters are met for clear and concise communication.
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