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ASL: How to Sign about Pets

Pets are a large part of many people's lives, and American Sign Language (ASL) gives you the means to discuss your favorite non-human friend with signing. You can tell your Deaf friend all about that new dog you got:

  • Dog: Tap your leg with an open hand and, after the tap, lift your hand and snap one time.

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    Rather intuitive, wouldn’t you say? I mean, what do you do to get a dog to come to you? Many times you snap your fingers. You’ll find that lots of ASL signs are intuitive, which makes building your vocabulary easy.

  • Cat: Pinch your index finger and thumb together in the ASL sign for F, leaving the rest of your fingers spread apart. Touch the center of your cheek with you pinched fingers and stroke toward your ear a few times. (Pretend you’re stroking whiskers on a cat.)

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  • Fish: Extend your hand as if you’re about to shake hands, and then wiggle your hand from side to side while moving it forward. (Pretend your wiggling hand is a fish swimming in water.)

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  • Bird: Make a fist and extend your index finger and thumb, place the back of your hand to your chin, then open and close your index finger and thumb. (Yep, your fingers are representing the beak of a bird.)

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