How to Ask Questions in Sign Language

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Since we’ve already covered how to sign about animals in American Sign Language, I thought now would be a good time to talk about how to ask questions in sign language. That way, you can ask someone which animal they like and why.

How to Ask Questions in Sign Language - By Selena

Asking questions in sign language is a major part of learning to communicate with the deaf. Think about it: How much of our spoken conversations include questions? A lot! The same thing is true in ASL.

Here’s a primer on how to use questions in ASL!

How to Ask Questions in Sign Language

An important part of understanding how to use questions in ASL is getting a basic grasp on ASL grammar. American Sign Language is actually based on French, so it uses a similar sentence structure.

For example, in English, we place adjectives before nouns. We speak of the “red bicycle” and the “tall tree”. In ASL, though, we put the noun ahead of the adjective: “bicycle red” or “tree tall“.

In ASL, we generally place question words at the end of the sentence. So, if you were going to ask, “What time is your appointment?”, you would sign “Your appointment time what?” That means you’ll have to watch an entire sentence before you actually know for sure it’s a question.

Another tip for asking questions in ASL is that your face should look quizzical. So, you’ll want to raise your eyebrows and lean forward a little bit to make sure that your audience knows you’re asking a question.

To give you a more visual look at this concept, watch the following video to learn how to sign common question words, such as: who, what, when, where, why, what’s up, and how.

To learn even more American Sign Language, visit our Sign Language resources page at Look! We’re Learning! And don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get news of our latest ASL video lessons!

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