How to role shift using your body, not your feet

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This video is geared toward ASL students (or students of any signed language, I imagine) who might be making the mistake of thinking they have to move their feet when role shifting, a way to reenact dialogue between two characters in storytelling. I demonstrate how you can role shift by twisting your whole body, using your legs and bending your knees slightly while keeping your feet planted on the ground.

Disclaimer and acknowledgment

I am a non-native hearing signer, and I would not have made this video if I could find a video of a native Deaf ASL signer demonstrating how to role shift without stepping from side to side. One can assume from watching videos of Deaf signers role shifting that they are not moving their feet (e.g. ASL THAT), and curricula such as Dawn Sign Press’ Signing Naturally tell students not to move their feet, but students cannot see feet of the Deaf language models. I encourage everyone to watch Deaf people role shifting and see how smoothly they do it– especially if you get the chance to see them from head to toe!

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