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In SooSL, we don't try to describe every detail of the motion of the hands. One reason is that the details often vary from one person to the next. 

However, we can describe motion in some general ways. It is easier to search for signs when we look for general characteristics, not details.

Here are the icons we use. There are five groups of parameters to choose from. Often you will choose one parameter from each group.

What changes?

We can describe motion as a change of location, a change of handshape, a change of orientation, or no change at all. 

change of location, including short movements like tapping. (When the hands change location, we can also describe their path and direction.)

change of handshape, including hand-internal movements like wiggling the fingers or open-closed

change of orientation (for example, flexing the wrist or rotating the forearm)

no change

What path?

When the hands change location, we can also describe their path:

straight motion (including back-and-forth motion)

curved motion

motion in a circle (including elongated "circles")

any other motion that is more complex than straight, curved, or in a circle

What direction?

When the hands change location, we can also describe their direction:

motion toward the body

motion away from the body

motion that is not consistently toward or away from the body, including sideways motion, up-and-down motion, and back-and-forth motion (both toward and away from the body)

How many times?


two or more times

How close?

near: the hand is close to a body part but does not touch

touch: the hand touches the body

grasp: the hand pinches or wraps around some part of the body

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