Signs in literature | BookTube

Note: The below is mainly a list of the terms I show in this video, because I’m mostly just showing the signs.

Hello, I’m Rogan and welcome! A while back, I had a comment from Tacara ask me about various signs for words in literature. I already had a short list of the basic terms, but this person had a list with more specific terms. I’ll be going through those lists today. I want to preface this with the fact that there will be a lot of very specific literature-related words that I don’t cover or have a sign for. That is in part because sadly in my opinion, reading is not massively popular in the deaf community. In fact, there are many who actively don’t read for various reasons. From personal experience, I know there are many who didn’t grow up being encouraged to read for enjoyment, and mainly read only for school. I get that, because I hated being forced to read specific books that I had zero interest in. I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in a family of readers and signers. We’re getting a little off topic now, but I just wanted to mention that for those who may not be all that familiar with the deaf community. I’ll start with the basics then go into more detail. I’ll give some explanations for signs if they’re needed, but many are signing the *meaning* of the word, rather than a distinct sign for that specific English word.

  • Book, books
  • Library
  • To be read and did not finish
  • Readathon
  • Genres
    • Nonfiction
    • Fiction
    • Horror
    • Thriller
    • Fantasy
    • Sci-fi
    • Romance
    • Drama
    • Contemporary
    • Classic

Basic list done, onto the more literature-specific terms.

  • Setting/Universe 
  • Theme
  • Prequel/Sequel
  • Character/main character/side character
  • Growth/development
  • Plot/Plot twist
  • Action/climax
  • Timeline
  • Shocking/Attention grabbing/interesting
  • Chapter/Section/Arc (like a chunk of story)
  • Trope/cliché/stereotype
  • Emotionally invested/Relatable
  • Resolution
  • Protagonist (good guy)
  • Antagonist (bad guy)
  • Love interest
  • Book Review
  • Page Count
  • Scene/Section
  • Point of view
  • Rating books (5 stars)
  • Spoiler
  • Writing style
  • Series/Trilogy
  • Foreshadowing
  • Suspense

Naming characters or giving them sign names/what characters have sign names? It’s not very common to give book or even movie characters sign names unless they have very unique characteristics that lend themselves to an easy sign name. However, the exception is obviously anything that’s mainstream and often gets referenced in pop culture, such as characters from Marvel, DC, and the like. Even that isn’t consistent though. There’s no “rule” around this, really. If people really love a particular character, they may create a sign, but it’s not likely to become common.

That’s all I have for today. I hope you learned some new signs! Let me know if there’s any that you’re curious about, and I’ll be happy to explain more in the comments!

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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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