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 Y Z


Iceland »

Iceland (1) - Extended "A" thumb (palm back) touches center chin, moves down the chin. Double repeated motion

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

Iceland (2) - Extended "A" thumb (palm back) touches center of the chin then slightly moves down below the chin twice

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

India »

India (ASL) - Tip of thumb taps center of forehead or slightly twists at the wrist between the eyebrows (reminiscent of the red dot "bindi" on the forehead)

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• Granada, José (2007). Cities, States, and Countries [DVD]. United States: Filmsmith Productions.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [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)
• 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.

India (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

• Information Technology Information Center. (2012). Signs for Countries: English-Speaking Countries in Japanese Sign Language. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
• Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies (日本手話研究所). (2009). Sign Languages in Asia. [Video File] Retrieved Sept. 25, 2014.

India (Auslan/Hungarian sign) - Middle finger of "25" hand touches center of forehead and twists at the wrist.
NOTE: The Hungarian sign twists back and forth at the wrist several times while the Auslan sign only twists once.

• Auslan Signbank. (n.d.). Auslan  Signbank Dictionary. Retreived July 21, 2014.
• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 20, 2016.

Indonesia »

Indonesia (1) - "H" handshape wiggles across body from left to right; (Variation - sign this in front of your face, not body)

• 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] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies (日本手話研究所). (2009). Sign Languages in Asia. [Video File] Retrieved Sept. 25, 2014.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.
• Umberger, Larry (Deaf). Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Indonesia (2) - (Saudi sign) "H/U" hand touches non-dominant shoulder and draws a concave semi-circle on the chest to the dominant shoulder

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

Iran »

Iran - Tip of extended "A" thumb taps in middle of non-dominant palm

• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• 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.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [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.
Kuifje75 (Deaf). (2006, December 7). Asian Countries in ASL [YouTube]. (video no longer extant)
• Walker, Steven (Gallaudet Deaf Interpreter). (n.d.). American Sign Language for Countries and Geographical Areas. Retreived from Needs Outreach website.

Iraq »

Iraq (ASL) - "Q" fingertips tap on center of palm

• 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.
• Kuifje75 (Deaf). (2006, December 7). Asian Countries in ASL [YouTube]. (video no longer extant)

Iraq (indigenous) - Index finger of "B" taps center forehead

• 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] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.

Baghdad - Index points in circles at palm-up hand

• 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.
• Hassan, Nabil Mohammed. (2007). Arab indicative dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2009

Ireland »

Ireland (ASL) - POTATO (bent "V" twists onto top of fist, fingertips touch top of fist)

• Kuifje75 (Deaf). (2006, December 5). European Countries in ASL [YouTube] (video no longer extant).
• 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.

Ireland (indigenous) - 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 (Irish sign)

• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [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.
• Irish Deaf Society. (December 2011). Welcome video on home page [Video File].
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.
• Piersall, Lindsey (ASL interpreter). (2009). Personal communication regarding signs learned from international deaf persons and interpreters at linguistics conference in England.
Yomma Schäfer & Sequeira Gerardo GbR. (2016, June 14). Euro 2016: Namen der Länder in Gebärdensprache [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube

Ireland (Auslan) - "8" hand flicks on opposite shoulder with middle finger and thumb

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

Northern Ireland (Japanese sign) - 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).

• Information Technology Information Center. (2012). Signs for Countries: English-Speaking Countries in Japanese Sign Language. Retrieved June 14, 2012.

Northern Ireland (indigenous sign) - "V" (index and middle finger) subtly slide downward off palm-up nondominant hand to transition into bent "V" fingertips tapping once on palm-down "S" fist.

*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 (p. 40)

• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
Yomma Schäfer & Sequeira Gerardo GbR. (2016, June 14). Euro 2016: Namen der Länder in Gebärdensprache [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube

Ireland - (Hungarian sign) Both "5" hands start off at the non-dominant side of the body, paralell to each other but with the dominant hand slightly behind the non-dominant hand. The non-dominant palm hand faces forward and the dominant hand is held palm-back. Both hands move from non-dominant to dominant side in front of the body with the fingers wiggling. During this transition, the non-dominant hand moves into palm back as well. Likewise, as they move across the body, both "5" hands transition into bent "B" hands with thumbs up.

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

Israel »

Israel (1) - (ASL) "I" pinky finger touches chin on the left then on the right

• 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.

Israel (2) - JEWISH (bent "5" fingertips grasp chin then pull down into flat "O" as if stroking the beard)

• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [PDF] . (Yutaka Osugi, Ed.). Japan: World Federation of the Deaf.
• Jordaan, Braam. (Director). (2011). Sipho the Lion [DVD]. South Africa.

Jerusalem (1) - Claw (bent fingers of "5") come down on palm down on "B"

• Hassan, Nabil Mohammed. (2007). Arab indicative dictionary. Retrieved August 7, 2009.

Jerusalem (2) - (ASL) "J" + CITY (fingertips of "B" hands touch with palms facing each other and twist at the wrist as if showing several rooftops)

• 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.

Italy »

Italy (ASL) - Palm-back "i" draws a cross shape in front of the forehead (vertical first, then horizontal)

Italy (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.

• Andrews, Austin (Interpreter and Proprietor of Awti Productions). (2012). Proceedings from the 2012 Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference: The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon?! English to ASL Personification. Austin, Texas. [YouTube]
• ArabicSignLanguage. (2010, November 6). Arabic Sign Language لغة لإشارة [YouTube].
• Dickens, Matt (Deaf). (2009, August 27). Personal communication about experience at Siena Summer School in Italian Deaf Culture.
• Granada, José (2007). Cities, States, and Countries [DVD]. United States: Filmsmith Productions.
• Hallatlan Foundation (2005). [Hungarian] Geography Signs. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
• Hedberg, Tomas & Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies. (2003). Países (Country Name-Signs) [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.
Yomma Schäfer & Sequeira Gerardo GbR. (2016, June 14). Euro 2016: Namen der Länder in Gebärdensprache [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube

Italy (Auslan sign) - Flat "O" palm back presses downward at dominant side then moves back to original position. Repeat three times

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

Florence - Flat "O" open and closes in front of nose (reminiscent of flowers)

• Dickens, Matt (Deaf). (2009, August 27). Personal communication about experience at Siena Summer School in Italian Deaf Culture

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)

• Dickens, Matt (Deaf). (2009, August 27). Personal communication about experience at Siena Summer School in Italian Deaf Culture

Rome (ASL) - "R" fingertips touch top of nose then come down to touch tip of nose

Rome (indigenous to Italy) - NAME ("H" fingers tap twice at the knuckles)

• Allen, Scottie (Siena School for Liberal Arts). (2011, November 13). Email communication about the Italian signs used at the Siena School for Liberal Arts.
• Granada, José (2007). Cities, States, and Countries [DVD]. United States: Filmsmith Productions.

Siena - (indigenous to Italy) 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

• Allen, Scottie (Siena School for Liberal Arts). (2011, November 13). Email communication about the Italian signs used at the Siena School for Liberal Arts.
• Andrews, Austin (Interpreter and Proprietor of Awti Productions). (2012). Proceedings from the 2012 Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference: The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon?! English to ASL Personification. Austin, Texas. [YouTube]
• Banmoon83. (2009, April 14). VideoAnnuncio Siena School [YouTube].
• Siena School for Liberal Arts. (2010, November 23). Presentazione Mason Perkins Deafness Fund - Siena [Video File].

Sicily - "3" hand shakes fingertips down, palm back

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

Tuscany - "S" hand touches dominant chin then moves forward into "5" hand + AREA ("5" hand palm out circles once)

• Andrews, Austin (Interpreter and Proprietor of Awti Productions). (2012). Proceedings from the 2012 Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf Conference: The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon?! English to ASL Personification. Austin, Texas. [YouTube]

Venice (1) - "S" hands mimic paddling on a gondola

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

Venice (2) - Both "Y" hands palm down make a rowing motion in front of the body but do not move side to side

• Dickens, Matt (Deaf). (2009, August 27). Personal communication about experience at Siena Summer School in Italian Deaf Culture.