Personal Pronouns

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The use of pronouns in ASL is accomplished by "indexing" or pointing. If the person you want to refer to is present, you can simply point to where that person happens to be. This applies even when referring to yourself. To say ME, point to yourself. Note that, unlike English, there is no distinction between subject and object pronouns in ASL.
Our video clip shows a signer pointing to the right when she produces a third-person pronoun. This is for illustrative purposes only. Third- person pronouns can also point to locations on the signer's left.
To pluralize a pronoun, simply sweep the pointing motion across space. For example, one would use a singular point (i.e., no sweeping motion) to say YOU, but to say YOU-ALL (Y'ALL here in Texas), you would sweep that motion across space (to the right for a right-handed signer).
You might be wondering what to do if you want to refer to a person who is not physically present. If the person is absent, you can identify him/her by pointing to a place in space after you have identified who you are talking about. Once you have set up that reference, you should continue to point to that same place in space each time you want to talk about that person. This is a topic that will be discussed in greater detail in Unit 5.