Do signers fidget during signing? This is a question I often pondered. How do signers handle fidgeting during signing. I have often witnessed that signers were fidgeting (rubbing their nose, or other self-adaptors) during signing. Even for me, a hearing non-signer, it seemed easy to spot such fidgeting movements as not being part of the signing. Now, luckily I came across a nice joke told in ASL at by Kenton Hoxie, a Deaf vlogger (one of a fast growing group of ASL video bloggers cruising on YouTube). Obviously I cannot follow the joke, maybe you can.

But I will propose a game of my own to you: Spot the Fidgeting!: Try to spot the fidgeting in this video, and ask yourself what makes you see it.

Is sign perception hampered or disturbed in any way by fidgeting? I would find it hard to believe, as even I can filter it out, and ignore it while trying to understand the signing.

It is also interesting to check whether fidgeting is like saying ‘ehm’. Surprisingly, fidgeting occurs with one hand while the other is signing. But it does seem to occur at pauses in the signing (between phrases?). It might therefore be related to utterance planning (which I think saying ‘ehrm’ is as well). If anyone has suggestions about this, they are more than welcome.