Developing Expressions and Body Language

Try this visualization exercise to work toward developing facial expressions and body language. The following signs have been previously shown to you in earlier chapters. Now you're going to sign while adding the elements of facial and body language. This time, there are no photo illustrations to guide you. Instead, you will find only the word, followed by the appropriate facial expression and body language.

As you know, facial expressions and body language are very important parts of sign language. Remember, they add an element of clarity and comprehension. The chart on the facing page will assist you in developing and enhancing these important elements. You will need to take a moment to look at the word and visualize what you see.

Building all the required elements into your signing requires some talent in the area of multitasking. Don't become frustrated at the beginning if you can't do it all. Instead, slowly learn to take on the character and posture of what it is you are trying to express or convey. Simply explained, you need to have a smile when you sign “happy,” not wear a frown. The same is true in reverse. If you are signing “angry,” show the appropriate facial. Start slowly, and practice the facial and body language described in the chart.

Continue practicing until you become comfortable with these postures. Before you even realize it, adding the appropriate facial expressions and body language will become second nature.

Sign/Word

Facial Expression

Body Language

Crazy

Rolling eyes, tongue out

Side-to-side head movement

Dictionary

Eyes down, looking studious

Turn slightly left from the waist up

Flower

Bright-eyed and pleased

Smell the fragrance, head tilts, shoulders up

Happy

Large, bright-eyed smile

Loose and relaxed neck and head

Lion

Fierce look, furrowed brows, focused eyes

Proud, powerful posture

Mirror

Admiring look

Head tilts side to side, chin up slightly

Motorcycle

Determined

Body forward, head down slightly, hands gripped

Napkin

Proper look, lips tightly together

Chin up, head tilted back slightly

Proud

Smiling, smug look, lips together

Shoulders back, chest out, chin up

Strawberry

Lips pursed as in kissing

Chin up, right shoulder rolls

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