Major sign types

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There are six major types of signs, depending on how the hands are used.

Signs that use one hand only.

Signs that use both hands, but only one hand moves. Usually the moving hand touches or comes close to the hand that doesn't move. The two hands may have the same or different handshapes.

Signs that use both hands, and both move. Usually they have the same handshape and move in the same way.

Signs that use both hands touching each other, and they move together. Sometimes one hand holds the other. They may have the same or different handshapes. 

Signs that are fingerspelled words. They may be spelled completely, or have only a few letters from the word. Sometimes they have extra movements that don't occur in ordinary fingerspelling.

Signs that don't use the hands at all. They only use non-manuals. Usually they are facial expressions that have a special meaning. Sometimes they occur alone, sometimes at the same time as another sign.

Most signs have only one sign type. However, if a "sign" is really a phrase (a series of signs), it may have more than one sign type.

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