Handshape Stories and Grammar

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Handshape & ABC Stories
How they impact the Deaf
Community
Handshape Stories
• Handshape stories are one form of creative
play with ASL.
• In handshape stories all the signs used must
be chosen and ordered according to specific
rules.
3 Kinds of Handshape Stories
1. ABC Stories
2. Number Stories
3. One handshape stories
ABC Stories
• ABC Stories are told using signs in the
handshapes of each letter of the manual
alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z.
• This involves using a pattern from English, with
signs from ASL.
• ASL signs usually have no relationship to the
English letter except for the handshape used.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaLomHodZUA
Number Stories
• Number stories are similar to ABC stories, but
use signs in the handshapes of ASL numbers
from 1 to 10, 15, or 20.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUwC_l--rAA
One-Handshape Stories
• In one-handshape
stories the performer
recites a story or
poem using only signs
in a single handshape.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOHinP57wyY
How are handshape stories made?
• Just as spoken languages are made up of
different sounds in various combinations,
signed languages are made up of certain
handshapes that occur in different locations,
with various movements and orientations.
• All signs can be analyzed in terms of their
parameters: handshape, movement, location,
palm orientation and NMS.
A few things to know…
• Not all possible handshapes, movements or
locations are acceptable in ASL.
• There are ASL handshapes other than those of
the letters of the English alphabet.
• It is the constraint on handshapes- the strict
order required- that provides the challenge in
creating a handshape story.
ABC Stories
• The form of ABC stories is traditional, but the
stories themselves vary.
• The most common types are risqué,
humorous, or horror stories, especially among
young people, but they may also relate to
everyday experiences in a way that entertains
and delights the listener.
• ABC stories may be passed on from one group
to another, often with creative alterations or
new twists.
Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
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VALENTINE’S-DAY
LOVE
HEART
SWEETHEART
FALL-IN-LOVE
FLOWERS
BOX-OF-CHOCOLATE
BECOME
FLIRT
JEWELRY
RELATIONSHIP
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SWEETS
CUPID
CUTIE/BABY
CARD
HAPPY
FEELINGS
EMOTIONS
ROMANCE
KISS
CANDLE
Creating a Handshape Story
• You will create a handshape story with a
Valentine’s Day theme.
• You may choose one of the following types of
handshape story to sign:
– ABC Story
– Number Story
– One-Handshape Story
– Or; create a saying and signing the letters as an
ABC story
Example
H- “he”
A- “heart beat”
P- two-of-us
P- person-sees-us
Y- Oh-I-see
V- Valentine
A- “heart beat”
L- Fall-in-love
E- emotions
N-”admire- her”
T- “it’s time”
I- “I”
N- “kneel”
E- “engagement ring”
S- “open box”
D- pull-out-ring
A- “head turn”
Y- YES!
Now it’s your turn!
• Create a handshape story and
valentine for someone special in
your life.
– i.e.- your mom, dad, girl friend,
boyfriend, grandma, grandpa,
friend, aunt, uncle, etc….
• Use markers, colored paper and
glue to create your valentine and
write your handshape story on it.
• We will be presenting these
tomorrow in class. 

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