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How To Learn Sign Language

Name Signs ┃ ASL Stew


(Blue Skies ♪♪♪) Hello everybody, welcome to the video. Today we’re going to be talking about name sign and how get them. Now there’s two different styles of name signs. The first one is used more currently, in the present day and that’s called a combined name sign. That means you get an alphabetical letter whatever the first letter of somebody’s name is. Like my name is Jenna so I pick J. Then you assign that to a physical location on your body. Somewhere that would fit a characteristic that you have. Like it might be like this, or like this, or up here. That again is called a combined name sign. The other style really doesn’t have an offical name at least that I could find. If you’re aware of what it’s called please let me know. This one was used a little bit more in the past generations and is having a recurrence again. It’s a little bit more popular. It’s kind of just more of a revival within Deaf culture. This avoids using any sort of alphabetical letters. No association with the English language. This is using a hand shape, some sort of common hand shape. Then either it’s a physcial characteristic or a personality trait that describes who that person is. So you could use something like that. Within the Deaf community there’s different perspectives. Some people like to use the combined. Some people like to use the old school, I guess it what I’ll call it. So there’s kind of a debate. Some people accept the combined, some people don’t. It’s really more of a preference, but one standard things within the Deaf community is that a Deaf person has to give a name sign. Hearing people are not allowed to give name signs. CODAs are not allowed to give name signs. Only a Deaf person can, because it’s their culture and their language. So if you want to be involved then you need to make sure that a Deaf person gives you a name sign. Sometimes if you have a short name. Like my name is Jenna, or my wife Jill; both of us don’t really use a name sign. I don’t really have an official name sign. Most people just call me Jenna, and it’s pretty simple. So if you have a short name, then there’s a possibility that you don’t really need a name sign. You can! If somebody feels that it matches you, that’s fine. I’m kind of letting you know it’s not necessary. Long names, you typically you get a name sign. That just makes it faster. So that’s all for today’s video. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave a comment if you have a name sign. Let me know! Please make sure you subscribe if you haven’t and like the video. Oh and also remember to check out our Patreon page. Take a look, and if you want to support us, it’s up to you. We’d really appreciate any support that you can give us. Thanks! [Jill] ….you probably are, but if you feel it’s not right, then it’s probably not. [Jenna] Right and the rule of thumb is you know….

63 Replies to “Name Signs ┃ ASL Stew”

  • Mine is cool (open hand with thumb pointing to the middle of your chest) but with a G because my ASL teacher thought I was cool!

    Question, do Deaf people ever get offended when hearing people have name signs? Mine was given to me by my Deaf ASL professor after knowing me for a semester and I have heard mixed reviews about professors assigning name signs.

  • I started watching Switched at Birth about 6 months ago and I kinda picked up a few signs and then I asked my dad is sign language counted as a second language and he said yes. so I've been really interested ever since. 😊👌

  • my name is Josh, but my deaf friend, after having to spell it out so often in conversation between her and her boyfriend, have named me JJ. so really just a jiggle of the hand and it's much easier for them to reference me (I mean, they do kinda talk about me a lot more since the moved in next door and we hang out a lot!)

    my gf has also been given a name, a "K" near the eye because of her awesome eyeliner!

  • Is it okay to ask for a name sign or should you wait for someone to give it to you?
    I don't want to force myself into a culture if I'm not yet accepted, but I'm really excited to possibly have a name sign.

  • I was interested to see that my favorite YouTubers have a vegan channel! I will definitely check it out, but first, could you please help me? Could you describe how to sign "vegan" in ASL? I can't find anything in my books!

  • Will someone give me a name sign? I know a deaf person has to give me one and I don't know any deaf people. I just started signing and I want one so bad. My name is Dorien and I like to sing and play soccer. Some one help me with a name sign!!!!!

  • I got my name sign from my friend in first grade. He was deaf. My first signs were my name sign and the signs for 'play' and 'me'. All a little one needs to know! My name starts at the side of my head with my hand in the 'C' shape and spirals down. I had long curly hair!

  • Problem: I live in Israel, so I don’t have ASL signers to give me a name sign…

    I once saw an Israeli Sign Language interpreter talk about how name signs can be problematic for him, because they can emphasise features that should not be mentioned in polite society, e.g. former PM Ariel Sharon had a name sign indicating his prominent belly, and his successor Ehud Olmert had one based on his ugly comb-over. He resorted to fingerspelling their names.
    I actually chose a sign for myself in ISL, using the sign for ‘blue’, which is V handshape, palm forward fingers up, making a circular motion at about shoulder height, but near my eyes (because my eyes are blue and everyone comments on that), with the fingers closing in to make an ASL N handshape (because my name is Neel, and the equivalent Hebrew letter, נ nun, is formed the same way). I chose it after seeing my beginner ISL teacher showing her sign name was a fingerspelt ש (shin, making a sh-sound, same as fingerspelt W in ASL), because her name was Shelly, from the side of her mouth downwards, where she has a scar. She made a quick remark once about how we’d think up a name sign in a future lesson (we never did) so I ran with it, figuring I’d rather not wind up with a really offensive name.
    My intermediate teacher has a sign consisting of two flat hands facing downwards fingers forward at chest height switching positions; it was based on the one time he accidentally wore his left shoe on his right foot and vice versa back when he was a kid. When I mentioned how names seemed to be really offensive, he explained, ‘To you it looks offensive; to us it’s special.’

  • Mine is "L" with the sign for laughing/smiling 🙂 I was so happy when I got my name sign from my friend about 3 years ago!

  • what if you dont like your name sign or get offended by the characteristic they chose etc? are we ever consulted by the deaf person about it or do we just… get stuck with it

  • hi Jill and Jenna,
    I want to get involved more in the deaf culture because I think the language is extremely expressive and I want to learn more about the apparently fantastic culture that is behind the language. Also, recently it has become apparent to me that I have some sort of communication disorder and I was told that in American sign language there are different ways of expressing yourself that mean different things and are more clear and spoken English. I used to know a few basic things in AFL when I was young but I have forgotten them all now. Additionally, learning sign language is probably going to be difficult as I have fine motor difficulties.
    Is there any way that I can slightly modify what I'm doing to accommodate my fine motor difficulties without offending the culture or the language?
    All the best!
    Cole
    and
    Ilia
    PS I hope the message was clear if it's not please tell me.

  • What if you don't know a deaf person. I really want to have one because I'm trying to learn sign language. can u give me one?

  • Thanks, Jenna! You've been a great help. Can you recommend any good YouTube videos that would at least start me on the path to learning sign language? If you can this would also be a great help. They have a deaf studies major at my college. And I have been trying to get a hold of some of my friends who are majoring in this. Hopefully one day I will be able to communicate better in Sign than I ever will in spoken English. Just So that you know, I'm a fully hearing person. Is this still an appropriate reason to learn sign?
    Hopefully, this was easy to understand. If it's not, please let me know. There is a problem with my punctuation, to say the least, the majority of the time. PS I also use a cart provider as I am dyslexic and it's hard for me to take notes when the professor is speaking. My cart vendors have all been fantastic. Additionally, I have a YouTube Channel, And the channels fully captioned. Check it out if you like. It's called theater town. To find it, just type in Cole Massie and YouTube.
    Once again thanks for all your help! The next question either of you can answer, but what's the schooling like for an IOD? I get the impression that it's a relatively long educational process am I wrong? To conclude, thank you for bringing awareness to not just those who are deaf but people with disabilities in general.

  • I have two questions.

    Would/could a deaf person give themselves a name sign or would they need another deaf person to give it to them?

    And, how would a deaf person born to hearing parents get their name sign?

  • got mine by a student who I was working with 2 years ago who is Deaf. which is N and the movement for artists

  • How does that sort of thing come up in a conversation? I'm hearing but i'm learning ASL because I want to be a doctor that can work with the deaf and the blind in the future. My name is Katie is that short or would I most likely be given a name sign?

  • Hey, I have a question that has been bothering me for a while: so, can an hard of hearing asl user give a name sign? Because I think that's not "strictly" deaf so I don't really know if that's okay or not.

  • ppl can't use names from other cultures? that sounds very elitist. I feel like if im involved with deaf ppl and have taken the time to learn and appreciate the language then I can decide my own name sign to be used. my aunt and I are close, and she's deaf from infancy, and she's never made me feel culturally separated.

  • My sign name is AIRPLANE. My first name is Delta and someone (Deaf) thought it was funny and started signing AIRPLANE… I have had this sign name ever since.

  • Nice video :). Someone in my family (who I never see anymore) gave me a name sign when we where kids. Unfortunately I forgot what it was. I only remember it was a movement near the lips because it stood out to him.

  • I'm hearing and my name is only four letters, so I usually don't use my name sign. but I do have one, given to me by a Deaf friend who has since passed away, so I do use it on certain occasions in memory of her.

  • Thank you! I am HH and learning sign, and want to give my family their name signs but I'm not sure how to go about it yet! I'll have to learn more ASL first though! Thank you for this channel, I'm learning a lot and its really helping me!

  • Hello! I'm currently learning ASL and I think name signs are really cool. I'm not deaf, I don't have any deaf friends and I'm a little too young to go out and meet people in the deaf community. I'd really like a name sign but I don't want to be disrespectful in anyway by giving myself one. Any tips? Thanks : )

  • Wow, learn something, I'm deaf since birth, I got sign name from hearing teacher gave me sign name letter start with P put on ur nose, similar to sign funny.. Up and down with letter P because I am funny/silly.. That what my mom told me, so I never had a deaf person give me a sign name.

    I have hearing daugter are 11 month old I haven't decided what I should give her sign name.. I rather wait other few months when she start picks up signs I'll possible know by then, she hasn't pick signs yet, but she know what I said in signs.

  • My name is Diezel-Ash (pronounced dee-el ash) and my name dign is the bsl for car. Diesel, Diezel. My friends are kinda mean about my name but its also funny

  • So.. I have a question:
    I've been dating this girl for some time now, she's a hearing person, but she can't talk since she was little so she's fluent in sign language.
    I'm just starting to learn it, I'm not the best at it but I mostly undestand what she tells me.
    She kinda gave me this name sign that she uses to talk about me, but would the deaf community be offended if I use it, since it was not given to me by a deaf person?

  • We aren’t deaf but my son can’t talk. So we are learning sign language so we can communicate with him. We all have long names. So how can we all get name signs? I’m asking so it can be easier for him since he’s only 3.

  • So I just discovered your channel because i was curious about the "naming system" 😅
    So my name is Rachel and in the town( hospital) i was born in, the people are called sheepheads ( schapenkoppen)
    To thanks to your explanation
    Mine would be the R and the sign sheep. Thanks for explaning!

  • I know most Deaf children have Deaf parents but when that's not the case, who gives them the sign? Is there an existing sign for the name Lee? I'm just curious, I don't have kids.

  • I’ve recently discovered an interest in asl. I know how to spell my name but I don’t know anyone who is deaf that could give me a name sign, what should I do?

  • I realize this video is a little old so I'm late to the conversation.

    There's actually formal names for the name types that can be given. The first one you explained isn't "combined"… It's Arbituary name sign (I might have spelled that incorrectly). The other one you explained is Descriptive name sign.

    You can find that information in this book from The book of Name Signs. It's a little dated but still applies. https://www.amazon.com/Book-Name-Signs-American-Language/dp/0915035308/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516884957&sr=1-8&keywords=Name+Signs

  • My ASL professor has given me the nickname HAMMER (like just the sign for hammer) because my last name is Hammer. I don't think this counts as a name sign, but I wouldn't want it if it did because I don't like my father and hate sharing his name…

  • Don't forget, we often assign name signs to our pets! We have Greydon – the sign for "grey" and for Felix – the sign for cat with emphasis on the "F" letter shape (when we're not signing "hurricane" because she is one!)

  • My name is Laura sign name laugh with L. And I am deaf blind. But my boyfriend name is Thomas and he is such a goofball or silly very funny but I’m finding it hard to think of sign name for him. Any ideas? It would be easier to give him a sign name because I use his name a lot when we talk and spelling Thomas all the time is more frustrating than the language barrier. Any help would be great.

  • what if you don't know anyone that is deaf? I am wanting to teach my son sign language to broaden his communication skills and learn myself. but I want a name sign for Travis but he is only 4 months old currently also. thank you for your help

  • My name sign is hearing in asl but with an I because I'm hearing.
    So…
    Yeah…
    Well…
    This…
    Is…
    A…
    Lot…
    Of…
    Dot dot dots…

    J.K I don't have a name sign because everyone I know is hearing and so am I. Just wanted to see if you tried to do my made up name sign.

  • My name sign is "beautiful" signed with an s handshape. I felt so honoured when I got it from a friend in the deaf community (she is deaf). It was cool to see the process of her and a few others trying to come up with a name sign for me that was unique and different from others.

  • I don't like my name sign but it's the sign for "I don't know" because my friend thought it was funny that I kept repeating that sign when I was signing with a Deaf representative because I kept apologizing saying I'm sorry I don't know too much sign language

  • My name sign is just the letter j and p in sign language since my name is Jennifer Perez, I have friends that are deaf and hard of hearing, so I was given it by them

  • I've been given the name sign "K". My name is Chandler, but I work with a 5 yo named Bella who thinks my name starts with a "K", therefore she calls me K.

  • My name is basically the letter N repeated twice. My name is Nadine. Is there any special meaning to it?

  • My name is like california (I love you hand shape, with the pointer finger tracing along the jawline, as it reaches the chin, it becomes the sign "forever". ) but with mine you trace it with your pinking so it becomes a "J" on your jawline

  • When I was a little girl, my mother taught at a school for the Deaf. My name sign is 'long hair' with the letter m – I'm sure you can guess why. 🙂

  • I got the letter L and then hold it onto the palm of my other hand. I'm not sure why I was given this one but it is so interesting how SL works!

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