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How To Learn Sign Language

Should I Change My Sign Name? (American Sign Language Vlog) // Vlogmas Day 3

Okay, so, I have a question. It’s about sign names. [pencil writing] [game sound] If you didn’t know,
I have a sign name. I’ve had one since 2015. This is my sign name. I’ll explain it. So, my name is Rikki. I have two “K’s” in my name. And then there’s an “I”. So since there’s
two “K’s” and one “I”… Put your hand up like this. Remember, two “K’s”. Move the middle finger twice. But the thing is… It seems a lot of people can’t sign it. First, they look at it
like, “…What?” Second, they then try to
sign it and it’s like… It ends up looking like
the sign for number “25”. Recently, my friend told me… She was like, “So I’m at this event and
I’m talking about you. “And I was using your
name sign, but “everyone else was like,
‘What the fuck is that?'” They kept trying to sign it,
but they couldn’t. So now a little bit of history: You’ll probably know who
this person is. J-O-H-E –
Wait, no. His name is Josh Castille. He gave me my sign name. So, in the past, a lot of people- Okay, not a lot of people.
Just a few people. They were like, “Maybe you should consider
changing your sign name.” And I was like,
“Can I even do that?” And then,
“Would that be rude?” I was thinking about a few things: One- that maybe it
might be rude to do? Two- I do want people
to be able to sign it, but if they can’t sign it, then maybe I should change it? But I don’t know. So I thought I’d ask
for your advice. Anyone on the Internet
watching this video. I have a few questions. Do you or have you had
more than one sign name? Have you changed your
sign name before? How do you feel about… changing sign names? I think someone told
me that you have to ask permission,
you have to… You have to ask the person
who had given you your old sign name
if it’s okay to change it? I don’t know if that’s true. I’ve never…
I don’t know. But at the same time, I like my sign name. It’s different. I always thought that
it was easy to sign but… Well, sometimes, after
explaining the story, explaining the two “K’s”
and the “I” in my name, they understand better. But, sometimes, they’re
still like, “… What?” “Can’t do it.” So, that… I just wanted to possibly
have a conversation. Maybe you can answer my question. Help me learn a little bit. Share your thoughts. Let me know in the comments. Thank you for watching. I’ll see you later, bye!

67 Replies to “Should I Change My Sign Name? (American Sign Language Vlog) // Vlogmas Day 3”

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  • Personally, I love the name sign you have and think it's really cool! I don't find any difficulty in signing it. I think that, to those who do have difficulty with it, they really just overthink it. I don't think you need to ask permission to change it, though. I know a Deaf couple who had two name signs each. They used the first ones when they were back east and used the second ones when they were here in AZ. Different communities, and the signs changed. It's fine to have more than one name sign. An instructor I know was the ILY handshape spelling a Z (Liz, really.) Eventually it became ILY signing LATE because she was always running late. Both were used to identify her, even in the same community. Keep using the one you have! If you get another, well… Great! If not, they'll just have to practise!

  • Only change your sign name if you feel you have to change it not to suit other people they should go to the trouble of learning to sign it right if they want to have a conversation with you love you Rikki I think your sign name is cute I personally would rather learn to sign it right

  • I'm not qualified to give any advice, but I definitely do know people with multiple sign names. Although some of them are more nicknames. Carlisle Robinson did a comic about their sign names at some point that touched on this

  • Instead of “changing” your sign name, how about altering the “pronunciation” of it? (Sorry, showing my hearing bias.)

    I personally have a physically difficult (painful, actually) time keeping my pinky finger up while my ring finger is down if my middle finger is up, more on my left hand than in my right hand.

    Perhaps just modifying your sign name to make it physically easier for others to sign wouldn’t be rude – you’re not replacing your sign name, just adjusting it to be more accessible.

    “R-25” could make for an interesting variation on your sign name…

  • I know that in deaf culture someone gives it to you and if you need it changed, someone else does that. But society is changing. Signs even change depending on the generation. Can't rules change too?

  • Happy day 3 of vlogmas! As a hearing person and an ASL student, I don't feel like I'm in a position to provide an opinion about whether to change your sign name. I just wanted to say I always love your ASL videos. Your signing is very clear and easy to understand, and I have seen your skill improve greatly in the time I've been watching you.

  • It's okay to get a new sign name. Common when Deaf move to new cities, transition from assigned gender to their true gender or if they don't like one gifted.

    Just ask the community for a new one

  • It's not true you need permission from the original gift-giver to change the nane.

    Just need to be a consensus amongst your local community

  • I'm actually in a similar position except I want to change my sign name because I don't at all connect to it anymore and kind of find it silly? Idk it actually makes me uncomfortable…

  • Im a 47 year old deaf individual who went through 4 name sign changes. Now Im much more happy with name sign, I adopted the name sign when I saw a 4 year old asking his mom where I was, and no you don't need to wait for anyone to give name sign or their consent to change it. It's your name and you should want it how you like it. You can always change it.

  • Hey ,Rikki , your sign name took me to practice about 3 to 5 days. I signed it everyday . My hand stiffed . I think you should change your new sign name like Pokemon . Lol . I am kidding .

  • Signing hearing person here! I’ve known a lot of people who have changed their sign name (either because they didn’t like theirs, it was too basic, or someone just came up with a different name and it stuck) I personally changed mine when I changed my name in English because my old one was tied to the spelling of the old name and it went over really well. So if you want to change it you definitely could! As for people having trouble signing it, I think it gets easier the more they do it. However, if you want to get technical, the handshape and movement do break some of the phonological rules of asl, which is probably why it stands out so much and is difficult for asl users to sign, but it’s sort of like having a foreign name that English speakers struggle to say because it doesn’t sound like English

  • I'm not deaf but a CODA and idk too. Maybe keep it similar but easier to sign? Or ask for a new one from him? Also could you make a video about deaf-bluntness?

  • I’ve only had one sign name, I’ve never changed it. Well your sign name is tough… I remember the first time I saw it I was very confused, and even now, it doesn’t happen naturally— I can’t just make the hand shape, first I need to make the K and then add the I. It also kind of hurts my hand—my ring and my pinky hurt. But I also think it’s really cute, so I understand why you would want to keep it. If I were you I would ask Josh, tell him the issue maybe ask him to give you another sign name.

  • Trainee bsl interpreter here! I’ve had two sign names, both given to me by my Deaf lecturers. The first was the sign GLASSES with one hand (asl equivalent would be the k handshape by your eyes). Given that many interpreters have glasses I wouldnt be easily distinguished so now I have a one handed version in the sign MILES because that’s my name (looks like a thumbs up on your chest below your shoulder). Generally I’ve always been told your name has to be given to you, however that’s only really established for hearing people. Perhaps you could adjust you current name sign into an easier handshape, or ask a member of the community to give you a new one!

  • I'm hearing but use asl, I stutter so it helps. but anyway, your sign name is easy for me (and many more) to sign. plus you like the uniqueness of it so why change it? you should do what feels more comfortable to you. (:

  • i know you asked for the opinion of deaf ASL users, but as a hearing signer i think you should wear colorful makeup more often 😛

  • Me, too. 🙂 I have one, too, tbat other Deaf gave me: the letter "A" signed on an outward motion of circle at the heart cus I care for others (it combines the circlular motion of the sign for the word "care" plus the letter "A" for my name "April" signed in front of the heart). 🙂

  • Okay… just got an answer for you from two deaf people in my group I used to help manage before doing so overwhwlmed me due to my autism: they said that you CAN habe your sign name changed and tjat cus you are Deaf, you can be the person to change your sign name. It doesn't have to be from another Deaf person like it would have to be if you were hearing.

  • I got my sign name two years ago. It's read, but with an S. No one understands it for some reason, and I always have to explain it to them and they always think it's so hard and can never do it. In my opinion, it's pretty easy. At some point, I did think about changing my sign name, but then people started to get used to it and what it was which made it better and I decided to just keep it the way it was since one of my friends gave it to me when I first met her and I don't see her often, so it was sort of a memory of her to me. I guess I can understand why you would and wouldn't want to change your sign name, but in my opinion, I wouldn't change it because I do think it would possibly be considered disrespectful to the person who gave it to you. That was the main thing I considered when thinking about changing my sign name.

  • More answers just came f4om some in group on this topic:

    "April Morone Then tell her to hold off she can either keep using her sign current sign name until she gets a new one or she can choose to not have a sign name at this point. it's up to her."

    Cus you aren't yet too deep into the Deaf Community," that is why that rssponse from that other person in group.

  • in New Zealand Deaf culture, you can not pick your own sign name, nor change your own sign name. but you can tell your deaf community/friends that you don't feel it represents you etc, and ask for them to come up with a new sign name for you. I know of people who have asked for their sign name to be changed.

  • It's a great sign name; unique. Think of the confusion people have as being the catalyst that makes them remember it and you.

  • Change it. And change it to something that doesn't require letters of any kind. My experience traveling to other countries is that America is one of the few countries that initialize (include letters) their sign names. Since then my sign name is a reflection of my appearance, which fits the majority of Deaf culture worldwide. If your future sign name reflects your appearance, your sign name will be international

  • Hi Rikki! The way I see it:
    – Peter Parker took the name Spiderman;
    – Belgarath was called Mister Wolf;
    – Julie Anne Smith took the name Julianne Moore.
    – Olórin was called Gandalf by the men, Mithrandir by the elves and Tharkûn by the dwarves.
    People take different names for different occasions. It is legit to have a personal name and an artist name.

    Of course, the deaf community has its own rules. If I had to guess, you could ask your deaf friends to brainstorm on a new name.

  • I am deaf, and I went through several changes of sign names. Some people have two different sign names for business and personal. My wrist and pinky finger got in pain after attempted to sign your name many times, and still love your sign name! The easy adapt for me is to not use pinky finger. I thought this is neat how the middle finger move up and down on the thumb twice for two “k.”

  • My knowledge of ASL is basically limited to a few basic signs and the alphabet but your sign name totally makes sense to me?? And it looks very pretty! I don't have any advice but I just wanted to say that

  • I'm hearing and my mom whose deaf gave me my sign name which is an s going down the side of my face in a circular motion to signify that my name starts with an s and I have curly hair. I love it. 🙂

  • What if you ask him to give you a new sign name that's easier for more people to do? Then it can still be from the same person.

  • I was given a sign name and then the girl who gave it to me decided to change it because she didn’t think it fit me, so I have a new one! I think it’s fine to change sign names personally, and it might fit you better

  • I'm not deaf or part of the community, so it's not my place to comment on your sign name 🙂 I hope you get some good advice and follow your heart on it!

  • tl;dr: yes, if it makes it easier, go for it.
    my name has always been hard for me (and others) to pronounce/sign but it was my given name so i felt weird about changing it and imposing a new self-chosen nickname. i did ask my family if it was alright (it was) and they mostly call me by my given name which is fine since, you know, family. but it ultimately came down to what happens in introductions. when i introduce myself with a name i cannot pronounce/sign correctly, i feel uncomfortable every time the other person gets it wrong. if this is in an academic or professional setting, it makes me even more uncomfortable because eventually i'd just go "yeah, sure, call me whatever" when i could've gone "hello, my name is Zee" with ease and carry on, knowing there'd be no more misunderstandings and i'd be able to keep up whatever professionalism was required and not have to deal with anxieties over my name. so now i go by Zee because it's easier and ffs it's made a huge difference in how i present myself.

  • You know my answer already! I think you should keep it, I have no problem with signing it. I like that it's unique, basically no one else will ever have the same sign name as you! Sure, it may not necessarily follow linguistic rules, but rules can be broken! I had a sign name growing up, but it never felt like it fit me, and it was kind of boring (and was given to me by a hearing person if I'm correct). When I went off to college, I did use my sign name for a short time at the beginning until I realized that it was a good opportunity to get rid of it and get a new one. Ended up, I didn't get a new sign name until I graduated and studied abroad in Denmark for one year. I got one on my third or fourth day of being there. Mainly because Europeans hate fingerspelling names, and mine was a tad too long to be okay with fingerspelling!

  • Hoh/partially Deaf signing person here. I love my sign name, it was given to me by my level 2 teacher and I feel proud using it. My Deaf friends, who I met later, have changed theirs a few times. They're younger than me and sometimes their sign name was a bit teasing them (when we met one of them was given the tindr swipe as hers and she hated it). I know there's a cultural difference and significance to sign names compared to English names, but I feel the same about both – if it doesn't fit, or feel right for you then change it. I think within the Deaf community it's important to get feedback from your friends and peers bcos of the cultural aspect to sign names, but yeah I'd say to go for it x

  • I'm hearing. When my Dad became hh, he gave me my sign name. D-theater. When I got older, I was no longer involved in theater. He let me pick a new name. D-long curly hair. As far as rules and etiquette, I don't know.

  • I’m Deaf and Usually if you want to change it either ask the person who gave it to you or if your not close to that person and your closer to someone else in the community they can change it. It’s weird though and not really appropriate to just pick your own sign names though and not as fun. 🙂

  • Hey, my asl2 teacher actual to us a story about him changing his sign name 5 times. So Its not uncommon to change it or have more than one sign name. Also people should be fingerspelling your name if the group doesn't know you. Which should be done the first time you are mentioned and state your sign name just to set context to your sign name. then use you sign name to save time during the conversation. Its like stating someone's full name during a conversation and then using a nickname. "You know jonathan Smith? Well I saw jon the other day…." And I say it should be like a 25 with and R and with your thumb in the position for K. But what do I know I am only hard of hearing.

  • I've only ever had one sign name …> since I was 16 /I'm 46 now still have the same sign name… I get the what often. Please do keep your sign name its great name just takes practice is all an I've haer before about asking the person if should change name an out respect that can be true depends where you are … 😉 hope that helps Rikki 🙂

  • When meeting someone new, you can explain your sign name. For me: HI, ME NAME S-T-E-P-H. SIGN NAME ___. WHY? MY HAIR CURLY. You could do something similar. I am surprised your sign name is related to the spelling of your name. They are usually related to your physical appearance or personality. My ASL teacher was given a new sign name when she was older, due to a situation. She was calm and took care of a situation, while others were lost in the chaos of it. It has to to given to you by a Deaf person. So maybe ask around to your Deaf friends, see what they think. Good luck!

  • Whew! I don't think I have any useful advice for you. I do like your sign name: it's unique. I stumbled with signing it correctly to begin with, but find it easy now.

    I have a harder time remembering non-initialized sign names. My sign name (which is the same as the sign for "library") was given to me by a hearing preschool teacher, which is a violation of the rules, but nobody else has ever come up with anything else for me.

    As a teenager, some friends started referring to me as Lkvy as there was another deaf Laura also had the same sign name. I started going by "lkvy" (all lowercase since it's my initials) but there were also MANY people who could not remember the order of the four letters. lvky? lvky? ikvy? I used to have one of the shortest personal domains around but people still struggled to get it right. I guess you could say I gave up and partly retired "lkvy". Now I'm squaremeat on the internet and "Library" IRL.

    You know what? You could be "25".

  • I cannot speak on the topic of sign names because I'm not part of the community, but as a trans person, someone once told me your name is a gift and you are not obligated to keep it if it no longer suits you 🙂

  • Hearing Signer here, I can sign your name just fine but maybe that's just me.
    My ASL teacher said you can change your sign name because maybe someone gave you a new one etc.
    But it has to be given by a deaf person, as you probably know.
    I don't have any close deaf friends so i have not been give a sign name yet, but I would love one… anyway I think you should keep yours.

  • I think because it's like a nickname it can change. As like as Deaf person approves fine. I had to change my sign name because people got so confused and when I moved to new city they where like what???? So I got a person who new me well Deaf and changed it to shark. (I'm obsessed with sharks). It fit me well because I know not many will have my sign name and know how to sign it. Your sign name is pretty. I like it but I can see why people get confused! It's up to you. Personal choice.

  • I love the distinctiveness of your name, because it makes it really recognizable. If someone on another channel mentions you, I immediately know who they're talking about. And I think it's 100% up to you whether to change it, based on what feels good! It's not the most 100% natural feeling name on my hand, but it makes sense and it's not that hard to get used to. In some ways, complaining about a sign name because it's non-standard feels a little like white folks complaining about a "foreign" or "black" name. In other words, gross.

  • Hey Rikki.

    I have a sign name too. My sign name is the sign for 'guitar'.

    I have had it a while. I know a bit of British Sign Language (BSL). Like you I was brought up orally too.


  • I'm hearing and I just started learning ASL but I know that my Deaf Studies teacher has had his sign name changed over the years because it reflects the character of a person. For example one of his used to be like a Mohawk motion with the L for his name but over the years ageing has lost his hair so he changed it.

  • Lol. I think if I remember correctly you are supposed to ask. Or maybe it’s an etiquette thing, the person that gave me my son name was someone I haven’t seen since I was like 12 so…

  • I know you can change your name and I know thare are some rules and regulations for it

    I like your name but it always comes out as 78 and I don't understand why that happens to me

  • Hey Rikki! I have two dads. Ones deaf and the other is an interpreter and I asked them their opinion and they said out of respect at least let the person who gave you the sign name that you might change it and if they'd like they can help figure out a new one. (Btw I love your videos so much and my sign name is an L similar to the sign for lazy)

  • Eons ago in a place fa, far away, I taught ASL & Deaf Culture courses at the college level. One of the cultural rules I learned is that people do not give themselves sign names. I have had a few. Last one was based on my first name growing up (K) & my long hair. Steeped in Native American spirituality, I also have a Lakota name (Ho'wastéya Otå = Many Good Voices (reference to being polylingual)). Be patient. Spend time with signing Deaf people. A new sign name will emerge.

  • Horror story time. I have an ex boy friend who was Deaf and he gave me a sign name and years later realized if you removed the K it meant whore 😐 so I changed mine to cute with a K I figure that’s not close to a word in ASL but I know that people normally get their name if they’re Deaf, fluent , or if a Deaf person gives it to you because of like what happened to me 🙄

    But I mean I don’t see why changing yours would be a bad thing :3 if it makes it easier why not!?

  • I have being diagnosed as HOH with mild to moderate hearing loss for 9mnths and have hearing aid is it ok for a HOH person to make their own name sign?

  • I'm currently in a deaf culture class taught by a deaf professor. She says she's had 3 sign names. The first one had to change when she moved to a school where another student had the same initials she did. I don't think it's entirely uncommon to change it.

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