This lesson is about how to give directions. The concept of how to give directions seems to be difficult for many people. Don’t let it discourage you.
Remember that the key to giving directions is to give them from your perspective. It is called the signers perspective. Each step should be given as if you were the one going to the location. Consequently, when you are receiving directions from someone remember they are telling you as if they were going to the location.
If you are adventurous and want to try your hand at watching a video in signs there is a good video about giving directions in sign language done by a deaf lady. The video is loosely captioned and gives you an idea of what she is saying in sign language. It is well done and explains direction giving with some good examples.
Hello! Welcome to LearnSigns.com lesson 27.
In the last couple of lessons we’ve talked about prepositions. In this lesson I want to talk about giving directions. And those kind of go hand in hand. Many of the prepositions that you’ve already learned will help you in giving directions. Now there are a couple of other signs that you are going to want to know for giving directions.
First of all is going to be your compass points. NORTH, SOUTH, EAST and WEST. Now when you are talking about the compass and giving directions in general, you are going to give it from your perspective. If you are the one giving directions then you talk from your perspective. We call this the signers perspective in directions.
So pretend that you are looking at a map. Then the top of the map is NORTH. SOUTH is the bottom of the map. EAST is the right side of the map. And WEST is the left side of the map. When you use the directions like that, NORTH and SOUTH are very simple.
Which side is EAST? Which side is WEST? Is it my side? Their side? EAST and WEST, again you should do it from your perspective. So WEST would be to your left and EAST would be to your right. However, that is not as critical. For example, if I said, imagine that you were in Kenya and you wanted to go to the EAST side of the country. Well, I could do EAST side, and that would be the opposite of what I just said: EAST side. But from then on I need to keep EAST one direction and WEST the other direction. The idea that you are saying EAST and WEST should clarify where you mean. So it is not as critical to keep those necessarily straight, but within that conversation it needs to stay consistent on your EAST and WEST.
So, NORTH, SOUTH, EAST and WEST.
Now you have BESIDE. You can do BESIDE. You are showing the object here and you are set off to a side of it.
IN FRONT OF, or AFTER is probably better to say AFTER. And then BEFORE. So I am the signer, I am the one talking about going to the place.
You see the tall bank building? Where you are going is AFTER. AFTER the tall bank. Or BEFORE the bank. And this is BESIDE.
Now, IN FRONT OF, you can do it this way. IN FRONT OF, you are showing in the PRESENCE of is really the sign there, but it can mean BEFORE (as in IN FRONT OF, not BEFORE as in BEFORE you get to the building).
And then you have BEHIND or BACK. The BACKSIDE of something. Or you can do BEHIND like this. You have your stationary object and you are going to go behind it. Or you go PAST it. Go PAST the tall bank building.
So those are some other signs that you’ll want to know when you give directions.
Now, when you do give directions, let’s say there are two different scenarios. One is that we’re physically in the location that we are talking about. I can tell you to go over there and turn LEFT. That is pretty simple. So if you are in the physical location then look for, really just showing the person with your signs. You have RIGHT and LEFT. You can do both of them with your right hand or both with your left hand. You do LEFT and RIGHT. But again, if I am going to tell you to go out that door over there and turn LEFT it will be from my perspective. Even if you are standing there looking at me in this direction, it’s still going to be to my LEFT as I am giving you directions. So always think about that. Think about it from your perspective. The one that is giving directions.
So that, if you were the one walking there and your friend later is going to walk there, then you are giving it from the perspective they would need to know as they walk there, or drive there.
Now if you are not physically in the location. For example it is going to be some place downtown. Way over there. Then what you want to do is start with a known location. A common landmark. And ask the person, OK do you know where this store is, or this building is? And then start from there giving your directions. And then you would say, you go up past the tall bank. You know where that is? Go past that. You are going to go past one block, two blocks. So you have side streets here. You are going to go one, two blocks. And you turn RIGHT. Turn RIGHT and go over there. So you can do turn RIGHT like this or your can do it with your classifier, with your car. You turn RIGHT or turn LEFT. And you can also say, go STRAIGHT. Go STRAIGHT.
So the big thing about giving directions in sign language—and this seems to be confusing for a lot of people—is that you always giving directions from your perspective. The one that is giving the signs. The one that is giving the directions. It is called signer’s perspective. So give it from the signer’s perspective.
And then just use your signs, like the prepositions you have learned in the last couple of lessons. The ones I have given you in this lesson to give a description of how to get somewhere. If you are physically in the location then you show from here how to get there. If you are talking about some location that is distant, then you find a common landmark and then you work from there to get there.
If you have any questions, if this doesn’t make sense, or you have other questions then leave a comment on the website: LearnSigns.com and this is lesson 27. So you can go to LearnSigns.com/27 to get to this lesson. Leave a comment there. Or you can write me at david [at] learnsigns [dot] com and I will be glad to answer any questions I can for you. Thank you for watching.