embody your arms, hands, and fingers. Proceed with the intention to practice being mindful of configuration with RS #4 Foods/Preparation. The goal is to build a level of familiarity with these fingerspelled words so you can open your peripheral vision, focus on feeling the shape as you maintain eye contact during receptive practice. When you finish your practice session, answer the questions below:
- Practice the 19 letters that possess a high degree of configuration. Which letters do you make open and loose? Which letters do you make tight?
- Practice the 7 letters with a low degree of configuration. Which letters do you make open and loose? Which letters do you make tight?
- What’s the size of your hand? What’s the length of your fingers?
- Which are your favorite letters to make? Which are your least favorite?
5. As a warm-up for receptive fingerspelling partner practice, get in the habit of analyzing the hands of those with whom you’re communicating with. Are their fingers long and slender, meaning they may have tighter handshapes? Or perhaps their fingers are short and squat, meaning they may be more open and loose in formation of letters. Also, what level of signing is your partner? If they’re fluent, their letters will most likely be very relaxed regardless of their hand’s structure because they have had exposure to the language. As beginners, we tend to have much tension in the hands, but as we become more comfortable with ASL we relax our postures. The same can be said of spoken languages, as we gain experience and exposure, we relax our accents and become more natural in our pronunciations. Being mindful of all these environmental factors before you begin practice will give your mind a point of focus and increase your success when you know what to expect.
Let’s do our second timed recording to have a comparison to the timed recording on page 5. We’re only half-way through this manual, but I suspect you’ve made some gentle gains. If not— no fear, we have five lessons left to improve and grow. We’ll use the same familiar phrase below since it incorporates all letters of the alphabet:
The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog.
Set a timer for one minute and sign the above sentence as clearly and concisely as possible during that one-minute window. Remember our rules, however.
- If you make an error, go back to the word (not the whole sentence) and fingerspell that word again and keep going.
- Assign each word in the sentence a number so you can be exact in your end calculation. For example:
The = 1 Quick = 2 Brown = 3 Fox = 4 Jumps = 5 Over = 6 The = 7 Lazy = 8 Dog = 9
If my timer goes off, and I completed one full sentence and was on “fox”, I give myself a score of 1.4. If I’m faster than that, and I get three full sentences fingerspelled, but when the timer went off, I was signing “over”, I get a 3.6. Does this make sense?
- Whatever word you’re on when the timer goes off, be kind to yourself and give yourself the full word.
- In the same spirit of kindness, we will do the 1-minute recordings two times, just in case you bumble, fumble one of them. Record your highest score and compare to page 5.
Ready, set, begin! Date______________________ High Score___________________________