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Basic Guide for Communication in Catalan Sign Language

2.4. Sign Language Articulators

All languages contain active and passive articulators. In spoken language active articulators include the lips, tongue and soft palate, while passive articulators are the parts that do not move: the teeth, alveolar ridge and hard palate.

In sign language, signs can be made with both hands or with only one. Let’s see an example of one hand and practice:


Differences between active and passive articulators can be seen with the hands, although this is not always so. The distinction in bi-manual signs will be applied according to symmetry or condition of dominance.

The condition of symmetry can be seen in bi-manual signs, in which both articulators (hands and/or arms) move. In these types of signs, the shape and movement of both articulators are equal and symmetric. Here’s an example:


The condition of dominance appears in signs where both hands are used, but only one moves while the other remains still. The hand that moves receives the name of dominant hand and the one that remains still is the non-dominant hand. Normally in right-handed people the dominant hand is the right hand, and left-handed people use their left hand. The shape and orientation of each hand in this case is different. Here are some examples:


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