Birthday, Strawberry, Garbage, Hospital, Pretend | Regional Signs


This is for Deaf Awareness Month, but it’s also the start of a new series!

Welcome to my new series, Regional Signs. Yes, there is such a thing. People think that ASL is exactly the same everywhere. Well. Let me tell you right now, it’s not. Yeah, it’s true, there’s a lot more standardized signs. But that’s part of ASL being a “young” sign language, compared to a lot of other sign languages.

Disclaimer: I may not get everything 100% right, so if I make a mistake, please let me know in the comments. I will mention it in the next video of the series. I will also maybe get some regions wrong, maybe forget, or don’t know about a region that the sign also appears in. So again, if I get anything wrong, please let me know in the comments.

The information for this series will come from a lot of places, including you. So, I posted on my personal socials, I’ve posted on groups, but also I will want information from you. So if you know of any regional signs, please leave them in the comments. Or if I talk about a word, and you know of more variations or more regional signs relating to that word, let me know too. Okay! Let’s get into the signs. I will do only five words today, to start with.

NOTE: For this blog post, I’m going much more in-depth on why some of the signs are signed the way they are, I don’t in the video.

First word: birthday.

This is probably the most common sign. It starts on the chin, which is where you sign age, but beyond that, I have no idea why it would be signed this way:

I think this is the second most common sign. No idea why it’s signed like this:

The next three signs are ones that I know of. I don’t know what region, or how common they are. First one is like blowing out candles, second one I have absolutely no idea, and the third is a literal interpretation of BIRTH-DAY.

The next word has a ridiculous amount of different signs for it. That word is strawberry.

This is the most common, I think. Somewhat like biting down on one and ripping the leaves away from your mouth.

This sign, I know for sure is regional to Washington. It’s basically signing RED then indicating the nose, which is kiiiind of shaped like a strawberry?

The next sign is from Michigan. It looks very similar to the sign for bee, so that’s one possible connection. Another I can think of is sometimes when you get a sudden tang/sour taste from a strawberry, you would hold your face like that.

The next sign has two variations, and it’s signed in Arkansas and Colorado, that I know for sure. So I’m not sure if that means the Midwest, or just those specific states. So I will show both of the variations.

The last one I will show you today is signed in North Carolina.

Next! After pleasant strawberry, whatever, we have garbage.

The most common sign, basically one of the signs for bag:

The other sign, I saw for the first time when I went to RIT. I was confused, then ah. Interesting. I believe this is northeast, maybe New York only. I have no idea why it’s signed this way, because it’s also the sign for lettuce/cabbage.

The next word is hospital.

The most common sign, like the old-fashioned red cross on the sleeves of medical uniforms:

I believe this is signed in the northeast, and is a throwback to the old nurse cap with its straight lines.

For the next word, I will show you four different signs. Now, some are regional, and some are just variations. That word is pretend.

The two variations first. The first sign is the same sign for fake.

The other variation, which is the sign for make-up (not the stuff you put on your face).

Now the regional signs. This one is signed in Rochester, NY that I know of. It’s the same sign as the one for hypocrite.

The second regional sign is in my home, Washington. I look at this as the gesture for talking done backwards or out of the side of your mouth, so in a way it’s like you’re not talking truth.

That’s all for today! I already have a list of more signs, but if you think of any signs that you know are regional, or maybe variations, leave them in the comments below. I will add them to my list to research and make a video later.

Of course, when I make more videos, I will create a playlist and link it up here, so you can check out allllllll of the different regional signs. Hope you enjoyed, and learned something from this!

If you want to support my content financially, I would really appreciate it if you joined my Patreon or made an one-time donation to my ko-fi tip jar. Subscribe to my channel. Follow me on my socials – FacebookTwitterInstagram. Thanks for reading, see you next time.

Published by Rogan Shannon

Hello there! I'm Rogan, a queer deaf guy who has a passion for leadership and advocacy. I create YouTube videos about a lot of different topics - being deaf, queer, reading, language, and whatever else interests me!

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