Click on the country name or the other links within the entry to view a video of the sign. Descriptions assume right hand dominance and American Sign Language handshapes (Refer to the ASL manual alphabet and an online ASL dictionary).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------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
1) "V" bounce on head at temple, palm touching head,
2) Bent "V" (palm out) taps in middle of forehead,
3) FATHER (spread "5") handshape touches forehead at thumb
and draws a line straight across forehead (from TALIBAN),
4) "A.F." taps on chin stating at the left with "A" then
moving to the right with "F",
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
6) like BASE/FOUNDATION, tap "A" at the wrist then move down
the forearm to tap "F" on the elbow,
7) palm-back "B" hands make a mask and only show eyes, tap
8) palm-up “C” hand moves down from the chin
Africa – new ASL: 5" moves in a 7 shape down to a flat "O"; old ASL – "A" hand with thumb toward face circles around the face once; (Saudi sign) “5” hand palm-back circles face several times
*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, is actually the sign that Africans themselves use. An interpreter who had met a deaf man from Africa explained that they use this "A" circling the face movement to depict where the country is in Africa. Imagine that the face is a map of Africa; the "A" circles around your face and then the thumb lands in the location of the country.
Albania – 1) open hand cups the side/back of head and taps, 2) both "S" hands cross at the wrist then burst into "4"s; indigenous: skip the "S" part and cross the "4"s at the thumbs
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, 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)
America, North and South – 1) (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; 2) palm-out non-dominant extended “A” hand makes contact at the thumb tips with palm-back extended “B” hand fingertips pointing down (used in Saudi Arabia as the sign for “South America”), 3) palm-out non-dominant “5” hand makes contact at the thumb tips with palm-back extended “A” hand (used in Saudi Arabia as the sign for “North America”)
Andorra – (indigenous) "F" hand (palm facing left) draws a horizontal circle
Angola – index touches outside of thumb on palm-out claw hand; (variation) bent “U” hand hangs of the thumb of the “C” hand
Antarctica – (Polish sign) full thumb of non-dominant "5" hand touches pinky side of dominant NOT (extended thumb "A") hand and follows NOT motion (moves away from the body outwards); as if "5" hand attaches to the sign for NOT
Antigua and Barbuda –
Argentina – ASL (like playing a small guitar) Left hand bent "B" remains stationary in front of shoulder while right hand bent "B" strums. ; indigenous: bent "B" touches dominant shoulder at fingertips and brushes down twice, variation bent "B" with separated fingers; (Saudi variation) a cross between “C” and open “E” hand touches shoulder on dominant side and moves down torso, repeating this motion three times across the chest toward the non-dominant side
Buenos Aires – like SCREWDRIVER, index finger twists on palm-right "B" hand
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 (indigenous) use the thumb instead
Asia – "A" palm-out circles vertically in the air once, then turns into a "5" that continues to circle in the air once; (Saudi sign) “5” hand palm-out circles on dominant side several times
Australia – (new ASL) both "8" handshapes push out from the hips, "8"s open into "5"s; (old ASL) what is now the sign for CUBA: "B" hand flips from palm-in to palm-out on forehead; (indigenous) both palm-down "5" hands become "8" hands and move from the non-dominant side to the dominant side where they turn back to palm-down "5" hands again (reminiscent of picking up convicts from England and British Colonies and dropping them off in Australia); (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
Melbourne – "M" like MILWAUKEE ("M" palm left, touches chin with the side of the index finger and moves down diagonally to the left twice)
Sydney – fingertips of open NO ("U" with thumb extended) touch then come apart into closed NO (thumb touching bottom of "U") one time
Austria – like 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"
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), 2) index finger draws a Z starting at the eyebrow horizontally, then diagonally down the cheek and horizontally past the ear
1) both "B" hands palm down alternate motion of beating a
2) "S" hands one on top of the other, palms in (as if
holding a staff or tiki torch), shake hands but no wrist
movement as in LACROSSE,
3) bounce the CONFRONT/APPROACH sign (palms of both "B"
hands facing each other)
Bahrain – "A" taps pinky side just above dominant hip
al Manamah – "S" fist pushes up under chin with long part of the fingers and knuckles touching chin
Bangladesh – one-handed WHAT (palm-up "5" shakes horizontally), then transitions into a palm-down "5" like flipping a rice cake; variation, transition into palm-down claw; (Saudi variation) “C/5 claw” hand palm-up on non-dominant side moves to dominant side and turns the “C/5 claw” to palm-down
Belarus – 1) WHITE (fingertips of open "5" touch center of chest then pull outward into a bent "O") RUSSIA, 2) index fingers cross at the knuckles and move horizontally in a circle
Belgium – 1) "B" hand at side of lips comes straight forward; (variation) B" hand at side of lips comes straight forward then back to side of lips. Repeated motion; 2) "Y" hand thumb tip touches chin and twists at wrist
Belize – "B" hand (fingertips up) draws a Z in the air
Benin – "B" (palm back, fingertips up) moves away while twisting to palm forward
Bermuda – SHORTS (bent "B" hands touch mid-thigh at the pinky where shorts cut off and trace along the hem from the inner to outer thigh)
Bhutan – open palms with fingertips touching shoulders criss-cross across the body to fingertips touching opposing hips with palms still open. (indigenous to Bhutan)
Bolivia – LLAMA handshape (pinky and index fingers straight up while thumb touches middle and ring finger) twists at the wrist; variation – bounce not twist
Bosnia and Herzegovina – 1) MOTHER (open "5" hand with thumb tip touching center of chin) signed at side of chin, fingers wiggle, 2) "S" hands cross at the wrist, twist palms forward then back, repeat; indigenous - "B" hand palm-out with index touching cheek brushes forward off cheek.
Botswana – 1) base of both "B" hands touch each temple and simultaneously move to the side and slightly upward, 2) "B" (palm facing left, fingertips up) moves straight away from nose. Repeats twice
Brazil – 1) "B" zigzags down from above the head like LIGHTNING/GOD, 2) "B" hand follows TEXAS (7 shape) motion
Bulgaria – (indigenous) "C" palm left at nose comes forward and down to close into an "S"; (variation) “C" hand palm left at nose moves forward and down; 1) flat "O" traces a moustache then comes down the side of the lip
Burkina Faso – "B" (palm out, fingertips up) moves left to right along horizontal arm, then changes to an "F"
Burma/Myanmar – PRAY (align hands with palms touching)
1) like a woman’s sash, left flat "O" remains stationary at
left hip, palm-in. Right flat "O" palm-in at the left hip
touches fingertips of left "O" then turns over in UPSET motion
to face palm out,
2) "4" at waist abruptly pulls up into "S" near waist, palm
Cameroon – thumb base of dominant "C" rotates in a circle on top of non-dominant "C"
Canada – (ASL) "A" hand taps shoulder of dominant side; (variation, used in Saudi Arabia) "A" hand taps shoulder of non-dominant side; Nicaraguan sign: "C" taps elbow; Japanese signs: (1) Make a "C" shape with the right hand (the fingers being the top part and the thumb being the bottom) and hold it over the upper left part of the chest; (2) Make a fist with the right hand then touch the upper left side of your chest twice with the thumb side of the fist held palm down.
Toronto – 1) MEMBER (bent "B" hand taps from one shoulder across to the next), 2) "T" initialized MEMBER
Cape Verde – modified "C" then PROUD (extended thumb of the "A" hand drags up the center of the torso, palm down)
Central African Republic – (ASL) Middle finger spirals into center of palm up "B" hand + AFRICA + (f.s.) R.E.P.U.B.L.I.C
Chile – "8" hand flicks on opposite shoulder facing up; variation, "8" hand flicks down (reminiscent of Chile's national flower, the Copihues);
Santiago – "C" touches opposite shoulder then comes out and down into an "S"
China – Old ASL: index fingertip touches corner of eye, hand twists at wrist or variation: thumb of "C" hand taps corner of eye repeatedly; New ASL: tip of index touches non-dominant shoulder, then the dominant shoulder, then dominant hip; indigenous to China: index finger taps on the "G" fingers
Beijing– indigenous to China: tip of index touches non-dominant shoulder, then the dominant shoulder, then dominant hip; ASL – index finger taps on the "G" fingers
*Note: ASL reverses the indigenous Chinese signs for China and Beijing.
Hong Kong – Claw hand over mouth flex like GROUCHY
Colombia – Elbow rests on hand of non-dominant and dominant "C" twists in the air at the wrist; variation - use "B" hand with extended thumb and one twist of the wrist
Bogota – both hands in S shape bent at elbows - elbows move outward and back in once (like wings of a chicken)
Comoros – index of modified "C" (like MOON) aligns with index of non-dominant "4", while thumb of modified "C" aligns with pinky of "4" ("4" hand palm back)
Congo – (indigenous) "C" taps repeatedly just above temple
Congo, Democratic Republic of the – DEMOCRATIC ("D" initialized FREE) + (f.s.) R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C + CONGO (Similar to "MONSTER" but palm down with both claw hands bounce decisively in air twice)
Congo, Republic of the – (f.s.) R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C + CONGO (Similar to "MONSTER" but palm down with both claw hands bounce decisively in air twice)
Costa Rica – same 7 shaped motion as TEXAS, but begins in a "C" and ends in an "R"
San Jose – palm down "Y" circles above then lands on palm up "B" thumb extended
Côte d'Ivoire – (f.s.) I-C for the English translation, Ivory Coast
Croatia – "4" fingers trace a cross shape on the chest, vertically first with fingernails touching chest, then horizontally with fingertips touching chest
Cuba – ASL sign: previously used for AUSTRALIA / also ANTHROPOLOGY ("B" hand flips palm-out on forehead); variation, "C" palm out taps on forehead; indigenous to Cuba: bent "O" opens and closes at the thumb repeatedly while moving horizontally across mouth (reminiscent of Cuban cigars being smoked down to the stub repeatedly)
Havana – fingers of palm-down "V" tap on top of palm-down "N" fingers
Cyprus – 1) beginning position similar to COTTON (flat "O" encloses index finger pointing right), but the flat bent claw (dominant hand) remains open after pulling away once from non-dominant flat "O" hand, 2) dominant modified "C" thumb touches index of non-dominant modified "C" then dominant hand moves up and to the side into a closed "G"/"20"; variation - dominant modified "C" thumb and index align with non-dominant modified "C" thumb and index finger; 3) fingertips of “L” hand touch palm of dominant-facing non-dominant “B” hand, then “L” hand moves to the dominant side and closes with the “20” motion while “B” hand remains stationary (Saudi sign)
Czech Republic – 1) "B" hand palm down on cheek brushes upwards several times, 2) "B" palm-up brushes up under chin touching chin twice, 3) (Czech indigenous) "B" hand with extended thumb touches chin with the palm then slides horizontally off to the side once + palm-out repeated "20" (index touches thumb like pinching) moves from non-dominant to dominant side
Prague– both thumbs up (extended "A"s) stamp down
Czechoslovakia – Note: the name-sign for the formerly known country Czechoslovakia is a compound of the current sign for Czech Republic and Slovakia
Denmark – starting at left shoulder, "3"
hand wiggles across chest to the right
Djibouti – 1) "Y" (palm facing back, thumb and pinky vertical) strokes up center of chest with pinky twice; 2) “Y” hand draws a large J shape in the airice;
Dominica – "D" initialized ISLAND (pinky finger of "D" touches top of "S" hand and traces a circle)
Dominican Republic – ASL: "D" touches forehead then "R" touches chin; indigenous to Dominican Republic - "R" touches forehead then "D" touches chin
East Timor –
Ecuador – "E" initialized like MOVIE ("E" perches on top of "B" hand palm down then shakes back and forth at the wrist)
Egypt – ASL: looks like EAGLE ("X" touches nose palm out) but palm-out on forehead (reminiscent of the pharaoh); variation, bent "B" palm-out on center of forehead; Indigenous - 1) "B" hands make shape of top of a pyramid, 2) "U" fingerprints tap on chin with palm in, 3) "N" fingertips touch and horizontally move outward, then from those corners of an imaginary pyramid, move up to center to form the top of the pyramid; 4) both “B” hands with thumbs out align to touch at the corresponding fingertips, forming a pyramid shape, then transition down into bent “B” hands with thumbs out (Saudi sign)
Cairo – (indigenous) Claw ("5" with bent fingers) palm down
El Salvador – indigenous: motion like KING, "E" beginning at left shoulder comes across torso to right hip ending in "S"; variation, 1) use "S" only, 2) use "E" to "L"
Equatorial Guinea – "G" moves horizontally from the non-dominant side to the dominant side, then becomes an "E" which moves down vertically (reminiscent of the shape/border of the small, square-like country)
Note: This sign was created by a missionary in 2005 when she arrived to teach at the Happy Hands School for the Deaf and discovered that there was no established sign for the country. They call their country Guinea Ecuatorial so the "G" handshape comes before the "E" handshape.
Eritrea – "M" touches the thumb side to the temple (palm-forward) and then twists to extended-thumb-bent "B" palm-back to touch the pinky side to the temple; indigenous variation: "M" taps temple with palm forward (contact on side of index finger)
England – ASL: dominant hand grasps top of "A" fist, reminiscent of a walking cane; indigenous to England: similar to WELDING, dominant index finger draws along the length of the non-dominant index multiple times; (variation) – dominant index finger draws down along the length of the fingertip down non-dominant index once (Saudi sign for United Kingdom)
London – "L" circles at ear with index pointing toward ear, thumb up
Estonia – extended "A" palm-in touches chin and makes a downward movement repeated twice
Ethiopia – 1) "E" initialized LION (motion begins at forehead and strokes back over the head as if combing a mane) , 2) extended thumb "A" circles face*, 3) both "E" hands (palm up) push upward several times on each side of the head respectively
*One interpreter who had met a deaf man from Africa explained that they use this "A" circling the face movement to depict where the country is in Africa. Imagine that the face is a map of Africa; the "A" circles around your face and then the thumb lands in the location of the country.
Europe – 1) "E" hand (palm toward forehead) makes a small circular motion over the temple as it comes down to touch the temple; 2) “5/C claw” palm-out taps the air on non-dominant side, then center, then dominant side (Saudi sign)
Faeroe Islands – SHEEP ("V" palm up repeatedly
pushes upward on underside of forearm )
Fiji – 1) COCONUT (bent "5" fingertips touch forming a ball shape and shake by ear), 2) index fingers cross to make an X over the knuckles, fingers tap around an imaginary horizontal circle; indigenous variation: use "U" hands (contact like SIT) to draw an imaginary horizontal circle in open space, and do not tap
Finland – (indigenous to Finland) fingertip of "X" touches center of chin (also verified by Deaf foreign exchange student from Finland)
France – ASL: "F" faces palm-out then twists at the wrist to face in (indigenous sign for FRENCH); indigenous: "F" faces palm-back then twists at the wrist to face palm-out; 1) “5” hand touches torso with palm then moves into “F/9” hand palm-out on the dominant side (Saudi sign)
Paris – ASL: both "V" hands palms facing each other come up to make a point like the Eiffel Tower; indigenous: "P" initialized CENTER (middle fingertip touches center of palm)
Gabon – thumb of "G" touches above lip,
moves horizontally to the right as if tracing a moustache
Gambia, The – using "1"s make the sign for MATH ("M" hands on top of each other with palms facing opposite directions, cross over each other while touching at the index and pinky) twice
Georgia – 1) CLOTHES (thumbs of "5" hands brush down from the shoulders), 2) "A" hands begin as JACKET (mime putting on the sleeves of a jacket), follows JACKET motion to center where broad side of knuckles touch like CHALLENGE (palms face backward with flats of all fingers aligned and touching)
Germany – ASL: dominant "5" hand rests pinky down on non-dominant thumb base, both "5" hands wiggle fingers (reminiscent of the bird on the German flag); indigenous to Germany: index finger base taps on forehead once (reminiscent of helmets worn during WWI)
Berlin – (Belgian sign) "S" fist touches temple palm-back, then circles up and out so that the "S" fist now touches the temple with the knuckles (palm out)
Ghana – "G" initialized NEW++ (pinky side of "G" hand touches center of palm-up "B" hand and makes two short swipes up); indigenous variation – dominant "G" hand taps the inside of non-dominant forearm just in front of the inside of the elbow, contact point is base of "G" hand (pinky side), motion is similar to NEW
Great Britain – see United Kingdom
Greece – ASL: "G" swoops down nose (reminiscent of the nose piece on ancient Greek helmets); indigenous: both index fingers tap horizontally in an X shape (reminiscent of the Greek flag); (foreign variation) both index fingers cross to make an X shape with fingertips pointing down (Saudi sign)
Greenland – both APPLE (thumb tip touches "X" finger tip) hands pull forward an imaginary hood
Grenada – "G" handshape of dominant hand rubbed in a circle on "B" handshape base hand with palm down
Guadeloupe – thumb of palm-forward "5" touches thumb of palm-back "5"
Guatemala – pinky side of "3" hand taps twice on palm-down "S" like INFLUENCE (motion touches top of palm then moves outward away from the body); indigenous - the pinky side of "3" hand touches the thumb and index of the palm-dominant-side "S" hand once
Guinea – "G" makes NEW (scoop up on "B") motion twice on top of palm-down "B"
Guyana – "B" hands with thumb out are placed in front of waist (palm back) and behind hips (palm forward) as if using a loin cloth
1) fingertips of "H" hand touch the eyebrow then swoop up
and out into "i",
2) Right "H" curves around fingertips of palm-down left "B"
3) "H" initialized MATH ("M" hands on top of each other with
palms facing opposite directions, cross over each other while
touching at the index and pinky)(reminiscent of tying the fallen
palm fronds together)
Herzegovina – wrists of LOVE ("S" hands cross at the wrist and lie on the chest) twist palms forward then back, repeat
Holland/Netherlands – 1) "5" fingers touch over the ears then swoop outward and opposite into flat "O"s, 2) "Y" hand with thumb at lips swoops downward
*Note: the second sign refers to the "Dutch" people and language versus "Holland" the country (Umberger)
Honduras – similar to HOUSTON the "H" taps in center of chin
Tegucigalpa– Honduran letter "T" (looks like ASL letter "F") motions like GRADUATE with the pinky touching center of palm
Hungary – index finger rests at side of nose then swoops up and to the side into a palm-backward closed modified "X"; variation, use only closed "X"
Iceland – extended "A" thumb (palm back) touches
center chin, moves down the chin, and swoops down and out
India – ASL: tip of thumb taps center of forehead between the eyebrows (reminiscent of the red dot "bindi" on the forehead); indigenous: using index fingers trace the sides of an inverted triangle coming to a point (reminiscent of the country’s shape); Japanese sign: Make a fist with the right hand, extend the thumb, and touch its tip to the middle of the forehead representing a tilak or bindi. Then flick the thumb up toward the hairline to complete the sign.
Indonesia– 1) "H" handshape wiggles across body from left to right; 2) “H/U” hand touches nondominant shoulder and draws a concave semi-circle on the chest to the dominant shoulder (Saudi sign)
Iran – tip of extended "A" thumb taps in middle of non-dominant palm
Iraq – ASL: 1) modified "C" taps on chin at fingertips, 2) "Q" fingertips tap on center of palm; indigenous: index finger of "B" taps center forehead
Baghdad– index points in circles at palm-up hand
Ireland – ASL: POTATO (bent "V" twists onto top of fist, fingertips touch top of fist); indigenous : 1) index of "B" hand touches forehead at the dominant side eyebrow then twists quickly at the wrist so the fingernails of "B" hand now touch forehead at the eyebrow (Ireland's own sign), 2) Open "5" hand touches left flat hand palm facing right, then moves to the right with fingers wiggling, 3) Northern Ireland (indigenous) – "V" of dominant hand rests on base hand palm up open B and moves to bent V on top of hand (palm down) while base hand flips over. 4) Northern Ireland (used in Japan) - Make a fist with the left hand and hold it palm down in front of the chest while tapping it twice with the slightly curled index and middle fingers of the right hand (representing a farmer's rake or hoe used in potato farming).
*Note: Great Britain and Northern Ireland share the same sign according to the WFD Country Name-Sign book, but a separate sign is also given for Northern Ireland (POTATO)
Dublin – indigenous: APPLE hand (thumb touching fingertip of "X") taps in center of chin followed by "L" tapping in center of chin
Israel – 1) "i" touches chin on the left then on the right, 2) palm-back "U" fingertips touch at chin then swoop down into palm-forward "U" (indigenous), 3) JEWISH (bent "5" fingertips grasp chin then pull down into flat "O" as if stroking the beard)
Jerusalem– 1) Claw (bent fingers of "5") come down on palm down on "B", 2) "B" palm touches lips then out to kiss wall, 3) (ASL) "J" + TOWN (fingertips of "B" hands touch with palms facing each other and twist at the wrist as if showing several rooftops)
Italy – 1) palm-back "i" draws a cross shape in front of the forehead (vertical first, then horizontal); 2) (indigenous to Italy) modified "C" hand draws a 7 (reminiscent of the boot shape of the country on a map); variation: modified "C" hand draws a 7 shape in the air then ends at a closed "20" with thumb and index touching.
Florence – bent "O" open and closes in front of nose (reminiscent of flowers)
Milan – index fingers alternately make STAR (sides of index fingers touch, palm out, and alternately move up and down while still touching) motion but without touching (reminiscent of tall buildings)
Rome – ASL: "R" fingertips touch top of nose then come down to touch tip of nose; (indigenous to Italy): NAME ("H" fingers tap twice at the knuckles)
Siena – with a double motion, both "L" handshapes (palms facing respective temples) move up and down slightly from the elbows as if adjusting a hat; can also be signed with dominant hand only
Sicily – "3" hand shakes fingertips down, palm back
Tuscany – “S” hand touches dominant chin then moves forward into “5” hand + AREA (“5” hand palm out circles once)
*Note: Tuscany is famous for making cigars.
Venice – 1) "S" hands mimic paddling on a gondola, 2) both "Y" hands palm down make a rowing motion in front of the body but do not move side to side
Jamaica – Left closed "5" palm down, Right
closed bent "5" curves around fingertips once
Kingston – "K" touches chin then chest like BIRTHDAY
Montego Bay – "M" circles (palm out) like MONDAY then transitions into a stationary "B"
Japan – (indigenous to Japan & new ASL) fingertips of "G" hands align to touch then separate and pinch so that the index touches the thumb on both hands; (old ASL) - "J" hand touches twice the corner of dominant side eye
Hiroshima – fingertips of both palm-back “H” hands touch each other, then simultaneously transition sideways into fingertip up “U” hands, then simultaneously move down vertically to point downward
Kobe – “F” hand with palm-orientation back, moves from non-dominant side of the forehead to the dominant side of the forehead
Kyoto – both "L" hands face down and palms back, punch the air twice
Nagoya – both index fingers pointing up & facing each other at head height move down and to the sides into “X” handshapes
Osaka – slightly bent “V” taps at the dominant side temple several times
Sapporo – fingers of the “4” hand with thumb pointing down pulls back twice over the fingers of non-dominant “4” hand with thumb pointing down
Tokyo – both "L" hands at side of the head, palms out, punch the air twice
*Note: All Japanese city signs are indigenous to Japanese Sign Language and not ASL.
Jordan – tip of "L" thumb touches middle of forehead
Amman– tip of thumb touches STONE (palm-down "S")
Kazakhstan – index finger of palm-down
ROCK-ON handshape (index and pinky erect) touches chin then
moves up to touch the forehead. (See original
illustration from a sign language book. Shared by Katy
Mueller, a teacher of the deaf who traveled to Kyrgyzstan in
Kenya – 1) EXACT (thumb touches tip of "X") hand twists in air, palm ends facing in, 2) EXACT hand taps air, palm forward, 3) GIVE++ (both "X" hands with extended thumbs alternately tap down like beating a drum), (4) (Japanese sign) Make a fist with the right hand and curl the index finger around the tip of the thumb, then motion back over the right shoulder twice.
Korea – (old ASL) middle finger of "K" hand taps twice the corner of the dominant side eye; (new ASL) "B" fingertips touch temple then swoops out and bends, then straightens to touch cheek.
Korea, North – (indigenous sign for specifically North Korea) - "C" hand comes off chin and onto the top of the other "C" hand like the sign for eyelids shutting and PASSING OUT asleep + CLASS (palm-out "C" hands touch at thumb tips, then turn at the wrist so all fingertips from both hands align); (new ASL) Add NORTH ("N" palm-out moves vertically up) + "B" fingertips touch temple then swoops out and bends, then straightens to touch cheek
Korea, South – (new ASL) SOUTH ("S" palm-out moves vertically down) + "B" fingertips touch temple then swoop out and bend, then straightens to touch cheek
Kosovo – "A" hand palm-down top of head moves in a horizontal circle
Kuwait – 1) indigenous: both "H" hands similar to NAME ("H" fingers upright cross at the knuckles) make a motion of cutting with a knife; 2) NEW (bent "B" palm up touches other palm and scoops up) movement with GROWTH ("C" encloses bent "O" then "O" emerges upward as if a plant sprouting into a "5") handshape as if tossing out surplus oil
Kyrgyzstan – index finger of your dominant hand touches the corner of your eye. Then move it away from your eye horizontally. Bring your hand down in front of your chest to a palm-down "5" handshape and move it around in a circle horizontally. (See original illustration from a sign language book. Shared by Katy Mueller, a teacher of the deaf who traveled to Kyrgyzstan in 2008)
Laos – fingertips of "5" claw tap on back
Latvia – thumb of "L" in middle of chest turns down like LICENSE EXPIRE (upright, palm-out "L" swings down into palm-back "L" with index pointing down)
Lebanon – repeatedly sign NO (thumb touching bottom of "U") with both hands facing each other, beginning at center and move outwards; variation, use bent "O" hands instead of NO hands, and bring the repeated motion downward vertically like a pine tree; indigenous: before doing the variation on the NO sign once, begin by signing JEWISH (bent "5" fingertips grasp chin then pull down into flat "O" as if stroking the beard) with no repeated motion
Beirut – "12" at temple
Liberia – the palm-down "L" dominant hand taps twice on the back of the palm-down "S" fist hand/non-dominant sign
Libya – "B" hand fingertips touch cheek, pull down the side of the cheek twice
Tarables – tip of thumb on extended "A" touches top of closed "5"
Liechtenstein – motion like SIDEKICK (base of right "B" hand touches palm of left "B" palm-back with fingertips pointing right; right hand swivels up so that fingertips are straight up) "L" swipes up into "S"
Lithuania – horizontal "H" over eyebrow slides down side of face into a "U"; variation, does not slide down face into a "U", only the "H" comes across the eyebrow
Luxembourg – 1) used in France: bent "V" hands with thumbs extended tap twice at the knuckles of aligned index and middle fingers; 2) elbow of "B" hand rests on other "B" like TREE (elbow of "B" hand touches rests on palm-down "B") then moves like FOREST (many TREES) only horizontally to the back; 3) used in the Czech Republic: circle palm-out "L" to the side of the torso (like LIBRARY); variation used in Germany: "L" twists at the wrist back and forth repeatedly; 4) “L” hand palm out moves left to right to left in front of the torso
Macau – palm-out open "5" with only middle
and ring finger touching, index spins in a circle then turn the
hand palm back with middle fingertips to touch chin
Macedonia – 1) upright "M" rubs fingertips across cheek; 2): palm-back MOTHER with wiggling fingers
Malawi – one-handed CELEBRATION (palm-back "X" rotates in the air)
Malaysia – flat hands on either side of head with palms in, alternate up and down positions at the side of the head
Malta – 1) "V" on opposite shoulder (palm in) traces horizontally to the right then vertically down, 2) "1" draws a cross on the forehead; indigenous - HOSPITAL (fingertips of "H" make a cross shape on the outside of the arm below the shoulder, vertical then horizontal)
Marshall Islands – palm-up "M" rubs in a circle on the top of "S" hand like ISLAND (this sign is used in Hawaii)
Martinique – in front of the neck and chest, curved "5" hands (palm in) one on top of the other, pat fingers (reminiscent of holding a baby)
Mauritania – as if pulling on a jacket one arm at a time with extended thumb "A"s; (variation) as if pulling on a jacket with both arms simultaneously with "A" hands
Mexico – 1) (new ASL) palm-down "V" repeatedly bounces off forehead with index touching, 2) (old ASL) "M" wipes down off side of the chin twice; variation use bent "B"; indigenous to Mexico: palm-down "V" touches forehead at index and moves diagonally down and forward once; 3) (Saudi sign) “H” hand palm-back starts in front of forehead and moves down in front of nose
Micronesia – (indigenous to Micronesia) "M" hand shape (palm down) moving in an arch left to right in front of you chest height, stopping four times for the four states of Micronesia.
Moldova – slightly open flat "O" hand comes across right eyebrow and closes into a flat "O" then hangs fingertips downward, palm-back
Monaco – indigenous: 1) JEWISH (bent "5" fingertips grasp chin then pull down into flat "O" as if stroking the beard), 2) curved "B" hand with thumb extended touches opposite shoulder and slides down to right hip like QUEEN
Monte Carlo – "S" hand shakes as if tumbling dice, then throws out into a "C"
Mongolia – palm-up "C" claws on either side of the head alternate up and down motions; indigenous: index finger pushes up on eyebrow as eyebrow raises
Montenegro – index finger of bent "V" (palm toward head, fingertips up) is held against temple and the hand is twisted at the wrist while the index finger maintains contact; indigenous: bent "V" palm toward temple moves forward and back horizontally in small motions
Morocco – "B" hands make a mask and only show eyes, hands move in a small circle
Rabat – tip of thumb on extended "A" touches top of "B" hand (palm down)
Mozambique – fingertips of both "C" hands touch middle of chin and move up along cheek as if a thick beard
Myanmar/Burma – PRAY (align hands with palms touching)
Namibia – bent index finger of "B" hand to look
like missing half a finger, palm back and fingers face downward
Nepal – starting on the left side, modified "C" hand bounces three times in front of the body while moving horizontally to the right
Netherlands/Holland – "5" fingers touch over the ears then swoop outward and opposite into flat "O"s
New Caledonia – GROW then open "5" hand breezes over and behind the head
New Zealand – (1) begin with flat palms touching like PRAYER, then right hand slides down, curves, bends, and comes back up into the center of left palm as a bent "B"; (2) (Japanese sign) Make a fist with the right hand and extend the thumb and index finger as if getting ready to pinch something, then place the fingers in front of the nose with the palm pointing left and make a motion down toward the chest as if drawing a kiwi bird's nose extending from your own ending with the fingers pinching together. (3) (Japanese sign) Hold the open left hand fingers up and palm out in front of the left shoulder. Make a fist with the right hand and extend the index and middle fingers. Touch the left palm with the tips of the index and middle fingers and then move them downward toward the heel of the palm, stopping in the center. Next, make contact with the center of the left palm with the tips of all four fingers on the right hand except the thumb while pointing the left palm to the left.
Nicaragua – 1) both hands "N" shape, dominant taps mid-index of non-dominant several times to form a T shape with the hands, 2) open NO (thumb touching bottom of "U") fingertips touch then close into flat "O"s as they move out to the sides. Repeat. 3) "N" initialized COUNTRY (palm touches elbow and rubs in a circular motion)
Niger – "F" bend hand at wrist so that palm faces back with fingertips down
Nigeria – 1) tap "N" under nose; 2) "N" palm-out, wiggles while held at the dominant side of the mouth; 3) “U” touches dominant cheek then transitions down into “N” on the cheek (Saudi sign)
Norway – palm in "H" hand draws a sideways Z (reminiscent of the outline of mountains)
Oceania – (Saudi sign) in a very large outward swoop, "B" hand flips from palm-in to palm-out on forehead
Oman – palm facing down, thumb of "5" hand touches chin and fingers mildly wiggle
Muscat – index taps on thumb of modified "C"
1) "F" finger taps tip of index finger like "PICKY";
variation, use "20" instead of "F";
fingertips of “G” touch once on upright index
Palestine – 1) sign "5" on shoulder (palm up) to close into a flat "O" following a fluid motion like 5-6-7-8-9-flat O; (variation) sign "5" on shoulder (palm up) to close into a flat "O" following a fluid motion like 9-8-7-6-5 to flat O; 2) illustration not clear (see WFD Country Name-Signs book, p. 49)
Panama – (like a gate controlling water in the Panama Canal) extended thumb "B" hands face palm in and touch at fingertips, then fingers draw inward to a flat "B" leaving the thumbs sticking up
Papua New Guinea – 1) sign NEW (bent "B" palm up touches other palm and scoops up)on top of palm down "B", then transition into a "G" above "B" hand, 2) open-NO fingertips touch palm of vertical "B", then NO closes into a closed-NO as it moves to the side of the palm
Paraguay – (indigenous) palm down "V" fingers tap on palm down "B"
Peru – 1) "U" taps on the back of head, fist part touching head. Looks like a feather sticking up; variation - use "V" (reminiscent of llama ears), 2) "V" handshape (palm facing non-dominant side) taps forehead (indigenous to Peru; reminiscent of Incan headdresses); variation - "P" handshape palm-out taps on forehead
Philippines – ASL: 1) "P" hand taps several times on back of S fist with middle finger, variation - PRINCIPAL (middle finger of "P" hand circles above palm-down "S" fist then touches the center of the "S" hand); 2) "F" circles the face once like FACE (this sign is used in Hawaii and by natives); indigenous: both open "5" hands touch the shoulders then pull out and to respective sides into flat "Os"
Poland – ASL: thumb of extended "A" flicks up under the nose twice; indigenous: "O" hand (index and thumb facing up) touches left shoulder then in a straight line moves right to touch right shoulder, contact point is the fingertips of "O" hand
Note: The indigenous sign comes from "the Poles' bravery in facing Russians and any other would-be invaders by ripping their shirts off, fighting to the last breath, fighting bare-handed, if necessary, against better equipped armies. The origin of the American sign is the statue of the Pole best-known to Americans, General Kosciuszko, who was a strategist and tactician advising General Washington during the American Revolution which depicts him as having a turned-up nose. As is often the case, the sign for an individual became the sign for the place that person is from" (The Interpreter's Friend.org)
Note: The Poles themselves use the ASL sign for the word "Polish" and the indigenous sign for the word "Poland." Source: Stephanie Soto (Deaf) personal communication with her Deaf Polish friend.
Portugal – 1) (ASL) "P" initialized SPANISH ("X" hands touch their respective shoulders then come in front of the torso to connect) with middle fingers of "P" hands touching in end position, 2) (indigenous) horizontal index touches forehead then slides down the nose to the chin, still touching the face (reminiscent of the shape on the map); 3)- palm down "3" touches chest with thumb tip then moves horizontally forward and then vertically down; 4) (Saudi sign) index finger points toward face and traces a zigzag shape in front of face and down to torso, then transitions into a “3” hand with thumb-tip touching dominant shoulder and moving vertically down toward hip
Puerto Rico – "P" then "R" taps on palm down "S" fist as in ISLAND; variation, (f.s.) P-R
Qatar – "X" touches over top lip down to a
"1" on the lips (SHH); (variation)
“1" touches over lips, pulls index down to a "X" on the chin
Doha – index points to top of thumb on a "B" hand with thumb out
Reunion – CHANCE/DESERVE (open "5" swoops down onto
palm-up "B" then transitions into "S" fist as it makes a
parabola motion up and toward the body)
Romania – 1) like MEIOSIS, "5" fingers match up and touch at fingertips, then move opposite each other into flat "O" hands, 2) The thumb and index finger form a modified C and then move across the body from the non-dominant shoulder to the dominant waist. The fingertips of the thumb and forefinger are pointed toward the body. (variation) use “B” hand with extended thumb to move across the body from the non-dominant shoulder to the dominant waist.
Russia – old ASL: thumbs of both "5" hands alternate touching at the hip, palms back; new ASL/indigenous: index lies flat on the chin then swipes off and forward; variation - index points down off chin repeatedly as if cutting off a beard
Rwanda – 1) "R" (palm out, fingertips up) touch nose with backside of hand, 2) GORILLA ("A" hands alternately beat on the chest by the respective shoulders)
Saint Kitts and Nevis –
Saint Lucia –
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – "B" handshape base hand with palm down, dominant hand starts with "S" handshape on central side and follows the edge of the hand to "V" handshape on outside
Samoa – 1) "A" (palm back, fingers up) rubs against cheek in circles, 2) fingertip of "X" taps neck, 3) index touches side of neck then moves out and to the side into an "S" (used in Hawaii and Pacific Islands)
San Marino – "B" hand with thumb extended (palm down) slants up, mimicking the slope of a hill
São Tomé and Príncipe –
Saudi Arabia – "H" touches eyebrow repeatedly (indigenous to Saudi Arabia)
Riyadh – 2 modified "C" hands draw an inverted pyramid
Scandinavia – similar to SIDEKICK (front base of right "5" hand touches palm of left "B" palm-back with fingertips pointing right; right hand swivels up so that fingertips are straight up), but hand that swivels up is palm back
Scotland – 1) (ASL) "4" fingers trace on triceps in a criss-cross shape, first vertical then horizontal; variation, motion performed on opposite chest by shoulder (reminiscent of plaid pattern), 2) (indigenous) with "S" hand to side of chin, arm flaps as if a wing (reminiscent of bagpipes)
Senegal – 1) SHOES ("S" hands palm-down tap each other at the thumbs), 2) index points to center of wrist on open “B” hand (Saudi sign)
Serbia – 1) modified "C" sweeps across forehead; 2) “G” hand moves from dominant to non-dominant side twice in front of the eyebrows (Saudi sign)
Sierra Leone – "S" comes down into an "L" on the thumb and index part of non-dominant "S" fist
Singapore – 1) palm-down "S" hand circles horizontally over other palm-down "S" then comes down on top of the "S", 2) ASL sign for TWENTY (index and thumb touch then open twice)
Slovakia – 1) index vertical moves from left to right on forehead, 2) similar to CONVERTIBLE, the "X" hands on either side of the head move backwards (repeat this motion twice); indigenous - both index fingers (palm back) touch middle of forehead together then move around to touch temples
Slovenia – "U" hand palm-back makes small circular movement in front of right eyebrow
Solomon Islands –
Somalia – "L" points thumb at chin and index at temple and moves to the side while closing like "20" twice
South Africa – (ASL) SOUTH ("S" moves down vertically) + AFRICA ("5" moves in a 7 shape down to a flat "O")
Spain – modified "X" over shoulder; (variation) modified “X” twists over opposite shoulder, ending palm out
Madrid – "D" touches forehead right to left; variation: both index fingers together starting on the left, then the right index finger taps across the forehead to the right. (reminiscent of the queen's crown)
Sri Lanka – Thumb of "A" hand traces around closed "5"; variation: HOUR ("1" hand begins fingertip up on vertical "B" hand, then twists at the wrist to mimic the clockwise motion of an entire rotation of the minute hand and ends "1" palm-back)
Sudan – thumb of extended "A" swipes at corner of mouth repeatedly (no wrist motion, only thumb motion)
Khartoum – (palm facing back) fingertips of "V" stand on top of "S" fist
Sweden - Right open "5" hand makes SQUID motion (turns into flat "O") on top of dominant flat palm down
Switzerland – make the sign CROSS on your chest (either full "C" hand or modified "C" hand that only used index and thumb); variation - use index finger in place of "C" hand
Syria – 1) starting in the center of palm-side "B" hand ("B" hand with thumb to side), pull "M" hand toward base of palm; 2) (Saudi sign) middle finger taps center of palm
Damascus – both "H" with thumbs up above lips like moustache swoop down to flat 3/N hands (can be a one-handed or two-handed sign)
1) "H" stirs inside "O",
2) both "T" hands (palms back) are held with dominant hand
held high and non-dominant held at chest, both hands twist at
wrists in place
Taiwan – "S" hand wiggles across mouth like signing YES over and over, right to left; (variation) S" hand bends at the wrist repeatedly near the side of the mouth like signing YES over and over
Tai Pei – pinky fingers of "L" hands tap (palms back)
Thailand – index swoops down off the nose, reminiscent of an ELEPHANT's trunk
Togo – 1) "T" (palm touching chest) rubs chest (Source does not describe motion: vertical or circular?); 2) both "T" hands (palms back) alternately beat drums
Trinidad and Tobago – Trinidad: both "T" hands (palms back) alternately beat drums; if signing "Trinidad and Tobago" for the whole nation, hit "T" handshapes like a drum twice in neutral space and then add a third hit moving up in the air and slightly to the right (indicating the additional island)
Tunisia – 1) Thumb of "G" touches center of forehead, 2) HARDLY/BARELY ("F" touches temple then pulls up from side of forehead); 3) “B” hand palm out touches once on the top center of forehead (Gestuno); 4) (indigenous to Saudi Arabia) thumb tip of modified “C” hand touches center of forehead then transitions into a pinched “G” that traces along the head from the tip of the eyebrow to above the ear
Turkey – 1) modified "C" taps on forehead with palm out, 2) use modified "C" hand like MOON to swipe off forehead with wrist twist, 3) modified "C" taps on forehead with palm out, then moves in front of face and draws a horizontal stripe with same handshape
Istanbul (indigenous to Turkey) – 1) B hand palm-out taps on center of forehead; 2) both hands have pinky & index fingers upright and middle & ring fingers horizontal and touching at fingertips (reminiscent of the Bosphorus Bridge; also similar to the Turkish iconic sign for “mosque” which represents the minuets on mosques)
Turkmenistan – "6" hand with three fingers touching taps dominant temple twice on the pinky side
Uganda – index and thumb of "G" hand
touches in center of palm
Ukraine – 1) closed "X" hand touches side of nose palm-in then curves outward and down once; 2) closed “O” hand palm-down touches under the nose then squiggles horizontally to the side (Gestuno)
United Arab Emirates – 1) U.A.E. 2) "G" from ear to chin, tip of finger touching cheek, (variation) "C" fingertips touch at ear and brush down cheek repeatedly
Abu Dhabi – index finger (right-left-right) on either side of mouth
United Kingdom – (see: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales)
United Kingdom – (Japanese sign) The middle and index fingers of the right hand are extended while the tips of the thumb, ring, and pinky fingers touch each other. The backs of the extended fingers are then touched to the bottom of the left side of the jaw (tips pointing to the left). From there, the backs of the extended fingers are drawn across the bottom of the jaw to the right side.
Note: For the Japanese, this sign is also used to represent the English Language.
Great Britain – ASL: modified "C" at chin (reminiscent of the chin strap on the caps of the Queen's guard); indigenous: extended thumb "B" hands palm down make a one time downward motion
United States of America – (ASL) U.S.A. (fingerspelled in slight circle); or America – (ASL) both "4" fingers interlock (palms toward body, fingertips out) rotate in a horizontal circle; indigenous to Japan – The open right hand is placed blade edge down in front of the left side of the chest with the fingertips pointing toward the left. It is then moved to the right in a waving motion representing the American flag.
Note: Other countries sign America with the "4" fingers interlocked (palms to the side, fingertips facing body)
Note: The origin of this sign is said to be reminiscent of the construction of log cabins, the type of home built in America's early days. (Source: Ruben Mallory, interpreter, learned this sign from a deaf presenter at a National Association of the Deaf (NAD) workshop.)
Uruguay – 1) "U" facing palm forward near top of head twists at the wrist to face palm back, 2) U near the side of the forehead with the palm in parallel to the side of the head moving out and inward in arcs; 3) “U” palm-back, fingertips up, makes two short left to right movements in front of the chest
Montevideo– "X" over the nose twists down at the wrist
Uzbekistan – 1) "S" handshape circles vertically by the ear (CRAZY motion), 2) "C" handshape circles vertically at the ear. (See original illustration from a sign language book. Shared by Katy Mueller, a teacher of the deaf who traveled to Kyrgyzstan in 2008)
Vatican City – "H" hand palm facing left, draws a cross, first vertical then horizontal
Vietnam – (new ASL): 1) Modified "C" hand traces downward moustache, old ASL: 2) (f.s.) V.N. at corner of eye; (indigenous) - 1) palm out "V" makes an S shape (used in Hanoi district), 2) "H" swoops down of nose, reminiscent of ELEPHANT (used in Ho Chi Ming district)
Venezuela – "V" slightly zigzags downward vertically; (Gestuno variation) - palm-out “V” moves left to right in short motions but does not move downward
Vojvodina – illustration unclear (see WFD Country Name-Signs book, p. 37)
Wales – at the side of the body, a "W" comes down in a straight line as the 3 fingers in the "W" bend down
Yemen – "Y" up and down on tummy palm
touches belly, pinky and thumb vertical
Sana – tip of thumb on extended "A" touches top of "S" fist
Yugoslavia – curved "B" hand with thumb extended touches opposite shoulder and slides down to right hip like QUEEN
Zambia – bent closed "5" hands cross at
wrist and tap at wrist (like BLOCK or PROTECT); variation, use
flat "O" hands
Zimbabwe – "B" hand (palm down, fingertips forward) pulls back so that the arm forms a "Z"