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One of my biggest pet peeves with hearing ASL interpreters is when they wear long nails. Whenever they do so, I tell them to touch their middle fingers as in the ASL word, "contact." It usually takes them a while to bring their tips together, or they do it so gingerly that the word is barely readable. This demonstrates to them that their nails require a big chop-off.
The problem with long nails is that signers subconsciously erect "danger zones" around the tips and avoid proper linguistic contact. Their handshapes become mumbly. It is stressful to read mumbly ASL, especially within professional settings.
Now there are Deaf people who for some reason decide to sport claws. I consider it their business, because their native knowledge and experience helps them to adjust accordingly. Hearing ASL interpreters invariably do not have this, so their nails need to be kept short to prevent mumbly hands.
ASL handshapes are supposed to be clearly read for effective communication. Let's keep them clearly expressed!
What are your thoughts? What have you observed? Comment below!
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