Country Signs


Country signs are organized alphabetically. Major cities are categorized under the letter of their country.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Afghanistan »

Afghanistan (1) - V" bounce on head at temple, palm touching head

• Bothel, Kelly, & Webb, Alaina. (2009). Proceedings from the 2009 Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference: Social Studies in a Post 9/11 World: Vocabulary and Concepts You Can Use. South Padre Island, Texas.
*NOTE: A list of resources used for this workshop [Word Document] is available online.
• Lapiak, Jolanta. (n.d.). "ASL Sign for: Afghanistan." Retreived September 20, 2016 from HandSpeak: ASL Dictionary Online
*NOTE: A Deaf Afghan showed this sign to Jolanta Lapiak years ago.

Video coming soon!

Afghanistan (2) - Palm-down "B" hand with thumb to the side starts on dominant side of the head and traces a clockwise circle around the back of the head to the non-dominant side and then toward the front of the head to end in the starting position. Reminiscent of a turban.
*NOTE: "These are not ASL conventional nor official signs but unofficial sign loans (not yet adopted). In addition, they are not conventional signs as there are other different (again unconventional) signs" (Lapiak, n.d.).

• Lapiak, Jolanta. (n.d.). "ASL Sign for: Afghanistan." Retrieved September 20, 2016 from HandSpeak: ASL Dictionary Online


Video coming soon!

Afghanistan (3) - Palm-down "S" hand opens to 5 hand repeatedly over the dominant shoulder
*NOTE: This sign was taught at an Islamic ASL workshop by an Iranian-born ASL and Arabic interpreter.

• Houghtaling II, Kenneth W. (ASL Interpreter). (September 19, 2016). Personal communication [email].


Video coming soon!

Afghanistan (4) - Palm-out "A" hand held upright on dominant side taps twice toward the non-dominant side (movement comes from elbow, not wrist)
*NOTE:  According to Lapiak (n.d.), this sign variation is not distinct enough for ASL thus not adopted into ASL.

• Fajaz X. (June 8, 2014). DEAF- Sign Language "Afghanistan". Retrieved from YouTube video.
• Lapiak, Jolanta. (n.d.). "ASL Sign for: Afghanistan." Retrieved September 20, 2016 from HandSpeak: ASL Dictionary Online
• The Daily Moth. (July 23, 2016). Afghanistan Bombing and Munich Shooting Update (7.23). Retrieved from YouTube video.

Afghanistan (5) - extended-thumb "B" hand pulls across the face into an "A" touching the other cheek with the thumb (reminiscent of women formerly covering their face but now freedom to reveal the face)

• Granada, José (2007). Cities, States, and Countries [DVD]. United States: Filmsmith Productions.

Afghanistan (6) - Palm-up "C" hand moves down from the chin

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].

Afghanistan (7) - F hand bends at the wrist over dominant side (ipsilateral) eye, similar motion to CLUELESS but placement is in front of the eye and not the forehead.

• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.

Africa »

Africa - (New ASL sign) 5" moves in a 7 shape down to a flat "O"

Africa - (Old ASL sign) "A" hand with thumb toward face circles around the face once

• King, Rodney (Interpreter). (April 2010). Personal communication about signs learned from a Deaf African friend.
• Deaf Student. (2016). Personal communication with Deaf student from Nigeria.
*NOTE: The old ASL sign for Africa consists of an "A" handshape making a circle around the face. This old ASL sign for Africa, which is now deemed not politically correct in the U.S., is actually the sign that Africans themselves use. In-person correspondence with a Deaf African confirmed that this is still the sign that is used in Africa.

Africa - (Arab/Saudi sign) "5" hand palm-back circles face several times

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].

Africa (Hungarian 1) - Palm-back extended "B" (four fingers together and thumb sticking up) starts in front of forehead and moves down to in front of the base of the neck

• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 23, 2014.

Africa (Hungarian 2) - Extended "B" (four fingers together and thumb sticking up) angled with palm back and slightly up, brushes up under the chin twice with no contact

• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 23, 2014.

Africa (LSF) - "5" hand with palm toward face moves from dominant side of head to in front of face, moves in a circular motion up to the forehead, around to the non-dominant side, and then bends the fingers and pulls horizontally toward the dominant side of the head.

Singer, M., Afsari, N., Michaut, F., & Lamit, V. (2003). [French] Recherche thématique: Mots du sous-thème "Continents". Retrieved from LSF sur la Web.

Albania »

Albania (1) - Open hand cups the side/back of head and taps

• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] [PDF]. (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Kuifje75 (Deaf). (2006, December 7). Asian Countries in ASL [YouTube]. (video no longer extant).

Albania (2) - Both "4" hands cross at the thumbs; fingers may wiggle

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• Hassan, Nabil Mohammed. (2007). Arab indicative dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.
• Umberger, Larry (Deaf). Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Yomma Schäfer & Sequeira Gerardo GbR. (2016, June 14). Euro 2016: Namen der Länder in Gebärdensprache [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube

Algeria »

Algeria (1) - Index fingers start together in the center then draw horizontal lines outward to the side (as if drawing the base of a triangle), then index fingers wiggle all the way up to the tip of the triangle

• Umberger, Larry (Deaf). Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Algeria (2) - Both "Y" hands palm in front of trunk move simultaneously up and down at the wrist, fingertips do not touch (similar to a vertical version of PLAY)

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• Bar-Tzur, David. (n.d.). Indigenous signs for countries by region. Retrieved August 6, 2009 from The Interpreter's Friend website.
• Hassan, Nabil Mohammed. (2007). Arab indicative dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.

Americas »

America - (See "United States of America")

North and South America (Continents) - (ASL) tips of thumbs of extended "B" hands touch each other (Left hand on top palm-out with fingertips to the side, right hand on bottom palm-back with fingertips down), reminiscent of the shapes of the two continents on the map;

• Piersall, Lindsey (ASL interpreter). (2009). Personal communication regarding signs learned from international deaf persons and interpreters at linguistics conference in England.

South America (Continent) - (Arab/Saudi sign) Palm-out non-dominant extended "A" hand makes contact at the thumb tips with palm-back extended "B" hand fingertips pointing down

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].

North America (Continent) - (Arab/Saudi sign) Palm-out non-dominant "5" hand makes contact at the thumb tips with palm-back extended "A" hand

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].

North America (Continent) - (ASL) The letter "N" moves up vertically to indicate NORTH, then sign AMERICA Both "4" fingers interlock (palms toward body, fingertips out) rotate in a horizontal circle.

South America (Continent) - (ASL) The letter "S" moves down vertically to indicate SOUTH, then sign AMERICA Both "4" fingers interlock (palms toward body, fingertips out) rotate in a horizontal circle.

Video coming soon!

North America (Continent) - (LSF) Thumb tip of "A" hand touches dominant temple then rotates to the side and forward to become palm-back while simultaneously transitioning into a palm-back "5" hand. Then the index finger points up.

Singer, M., Afsari, N., Michaut, F., & Lamit, V. (2003). [French] Recherche thématique: Mots du sous-thème "Continents". Retrieved from LSF sur la Web.

Andorra »

Andorra - (indigenous) "F" hand (palm facing left) draws a horizontal circle

• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.

Angola »

Angola - Index touches/hooks onto outside of thumb on palm-out claw hand; (variation) use "C" instead of claw

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• Bar-Tzur, David. (n.d.). Indigenous signs for countries by region. Retrieved August 6, 2009 from The Interpreter's Friend website.
• Hassan, Nabil Mohammed. (2007). Arab indicative dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2009.

Antarcita »

Antarctica - Extended thumb of dominant "A" hand touches underneath chin with thumbtip of non-dominant "5" hand touching the pinky side of the "A" hand. Both hands remain in contact and move forward and down in a slight arc.

• Bar-Tzur, David. (n.d.). Indigenous (?) sign for Antarctica. The Interpreter's Friend website.

Argentina and Barbuda »

Do you know a sign for Antigua and Barbuda? Contact the webmaster.

Argentina »

Argentina - (indigenous) bent "B" touches dominant shoulder at fingertips and brushes down twice, variation bent "B" with separated fingers

• CMcFly. (2007, June 30). Himno Argentino en Lenguaje de señas [YouTube].
• Ecuadordeaf. (2007, October 30). Job in Argentina [YouTube].
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.
• Unification of Signs Commission of the World Federation of the Deaf. (1975).GESTUNO: International Sign Language of the Deaf. Great Britain: Hindson Print Group Newcastle upon Tyne.

Argentina - (ASL) Left hand bent "B" remains stationary in front of shoulder while right hand bent "B" strums (like playing a small guitar).

• Walker, Steven (Gallaudet Deaf Interpreter). (n.d.). American Sign Language for Countries and Geographical Areas. Retreived from Needs Outreach website.

Argentina - (Arab/Saudi variation) A cross between "C" and open "E" dominant hand touches shoulder on dominant side and moves down torso, repeating this motion three times across the chest toward the non-dominant side

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].

Buenos Aires - Like SCREWDRIVER, index finger twists on palm-right "B" handike SCREWDRIVER, index finger twists on palm-right "B" hand

• Ecuadordeaf. (2007, October 30). Job in Argentina [YouTube]

Armenia »

Armenia - Like sprinkling salt, the flat "O" hand rubs the fingers against the thumb as it moves lengthwise back and forth across the palm-up "B" hand; Variation - use the index finger instead of "B" hand or use the thumb instead

• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.
• Kuifje75 (Deaf). (2006, December 7). Asian Countries in ASL [YouTube]. (video no longer extant).
• Umberger, Larry (Deaf). Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Asia »

Asia (ASL) - "A" palm-out circles vertically in the air once, then turns into a "5" that continues to circle in the air once

Asia - (Saudi/Arabic sign) "5" hand palm-out makes a wide vertical circle and a half on the dominant side

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].

Asia - (Auslan sign) Tip of index finger touches side of dominant eye then swipes backward so index points behind. Also means CHINA in Auslan. 

• Auslan Signbank. (n.d.). Auslan Signbank Dictionary. Retreived July 21, 2014.

Asia (Hungarian) - Palm-down "5' draws a counter-clockwise circle in open space on dominant side

• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 23, 2014.

Australia »

Australia - (new ASL sign/Auslan sign) both "8" handshapes push out from the hips, "8"s open into "5"s

• Auslan Signbank. (n.d.). Auslan Signbank Dictionary. Retreived July 21, 2014.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Information Technology Information Center. (2012). Signs for Countries: English-Speaking Countries in Japanese Sign Language. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
• Umberger, Larry (Deaf). Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
• Walker, Steven (Gallaudet Deaf Interpreter). (n.d.). American Sign Language for Countries and Geographical Areas. Retreived from Needs Outreach website.

Australia - (old ASL) what is now the sign for CUBA: "B" hand flips from palm-in to palm-out on forehead

• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retreived July 23, 2014.
• Unification of Signs Commission of the World Federation of the Deaf. (1975).GESTUNO: International Sign Language of the Deaf. Great Britain: Hindson Print Group Newcastle upon Tyne.
• Umberger, Larry (Deaf). Baylor University, Waco, Texas.
• Walker, Steven (Gallaudet Deaf Interpreter). (n.d.). American Sign Language for Countries and Geographical Areas. Retreived from Needs Outreach website.

Australia - (Arab/Saudi variation) with shoulders hunched, both "8" handshapes push out from the hips, "8"s open into "5"s. Motion done repeatedly to look like a kangaroo hopping

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.

Australia (Hungarian) - Bent "B" hands make a forward circular motion in front of the lower torso three times (reminiscent of a kangaroo hopping)

• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retreived July 23, 2014.

Brisbane - Thumb and index fingertips of both "F" hands tap twice, which is the fingerspelled Auslan/BSL letter "B"

• Auslan Signbank. (n.d.). Auslan Signbank Dictionary. Retreived July 21, 2014.

Melbourne - (Auslan sign) Bent "B" slides under chin from dominant to non-dominant side (Looks like the ASL sign for "LIE")

• Auslan Signbank. (n.d.). Auslan Signbank Dictionary. Retreived July 21, 2014.
• Piersall, Lindsey (ASL interpreter). (2009). Personal communication regarding signs learned from international deaf persons and interpreters at linguistics conference in England.

Queensland - Index taps thumb of "F" hand which is the fingerspelled Auslan/BSL letter "Q"

• Auslan Signbank. (n.d.). Auslan Signbank Dictionary. Retreived July 21, 2014.

Sydney - (Auslan sign) Both S handsmove upward and together into open "NO" handshapes to align at the fingertips. (Reminiscent of the shape of the iconic Sydney Opera House)

• Auslan Signbank. (n.d.). Auslan Signbank Dictionary. Retreived July 21, 2014.
• Piersall, Lindsey (ASL interpreter). (2009). Personal communication regarding signs learned from international deaf persons and interpreters at linguistics conference in England.

Austria »

Austria - Looks like the sign for RABBIT, hands cross at the wrist, palms face opposite and out, bend "V" fingers a couple times; Variation - use only the index fingers not a "V"

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.
• Kuifje75 (Deaf). (2006, December 5). European Countries in ASL [YouTube] (video no longer extant).
• Unification of Signs Commission of the World Federation of the Deaf. (1975).GESTUNO: International Sign Language of the Deaf. Great Britain: Hindson Print Group Newcastle upon Tyne.
• Walker, Steven (Gallaudet Deaf Interpreter). (n.d.). American Sign Language for Countries and Geographical Areas. Retreived from Needs Outreach website.
Yomma Schäfer & Sequeira Gerardo GbR. (2016, June 14). Euro 2016: Namen der Länder in Gebärdensprache [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube

Vienna (Hungarian sign) - Corresponding knuckles of "bent V" hands tap twice

• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 20, 2016.

Azerbaijan »

Azerbaijan (1) - Use both index fingers at ears (palm-back) to follow a curve like Princess Leia (follow ears then flip it back to palm-forward)

• Bothel, Kelly, & Webb, Alaina. (2009). Proceedings from the 2009 Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference: Social Studies in a Post 9/11 World: Vocabulary and Concepts You Can Use. South Padre Island, Texas.

Azerbaijan (2) - index finger draws a Z starting at the eyebrow horizontally, then diagonally down the cheek and horizontally past the ear

• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.
• Umberger, Larry (Deaf). Baylor University, Waco, Texas