Mobile ASL: Newest Development


Mobile ASL? A new way of expressing ourselves?

We use American Sign Language. ASL allows us to use both of our hands, especially one hand is a dominant one with another hand as a ‘support’ one. For example, if you sign, “STOP”, you use your dominant hand, with a B shape chopping on a supporting hand, a B shape flat, palm up.

But, what happens if you are holding a mobile phone with one hand? How can you communicate through the VRS signing “STOP”? The supporting hand is missing.

I have noticed more and more VRS companies making videos of Deaf people using mobile phone to connect with VRS. They sign with one hand. Here is one example of many videos here…

So, should we call this phenomenon as the “Mobile ASL dialect” ? Will that dialect become a trend for all of us to sign with one hand to each other?

Gads, I hope not!

I tried holding my iPad2 while using VRS, but boy, it was awkward and uncomfortable! I decided to purchase a nifty stand which was perfect for my needs. It allows me to use both of my hands while using VRS.

Go and check out this item from Brookstone.

This is really a nifty tool! It rotates 360 degrees, and tilts more than 90 degree angle to frame yourself appropriately for VRS interpreter to see your signs. Easy to carry and I love it!

Let me know what do you think about this new phenomenon, Mobile ASL and the Brookstone’s X-Stand for iPad2?

Amy Cohen Efron

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6 comments on “Mobile ASL: Newest Development

Yes, that better X-Stand for iPad2.

Thank you for sharing this. I have Ipad2 and my left hand becomes tire when I hold it while signing right hand! I’ll check this out!

I have the rocketfish iPad stand from Best Buy…it is on sale for $15.

It was actually made for the iPad not the iPad2, but the iPad2 fits just fine…a little shaky because the iPad2 is thinner…but it HOLDS the iPad 2 at any angle you want.

Another thing is that the iPad2 has to be set about 3-4 feet away for me to be able to sign into the camera easily.

We evolve, and technology is already changing our language…we have so many new technical signs it is difficult to keep up. And have you seen the signs kids make while holding game controllers? Amazing how messages come through with both hands occupied…!

One handed signing has always been with us since forever, though. Holding something in one hand makes it necessary. Whether it is a fork, a pile of books, a baby, or a paint brush, we’ve been signing one handed all along and it hasn’t made a permanent dent in our ASL.

Excellent point! Hat tip to ya!

When I think of “Mobile ASL” I think of the online the Mobile ASL dictionary offered for interpreters, teachers, or just students of ASL through Signs of Development ( I use lazy ASL (one handed) when things are in my hand naturally, but I don’t think this will become a new form of language for typical ASL users. I do notice that when a “learner” is watching, like my child, sometimes they adopt the one handed version, but I always try to correct them.

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