Colloquialisms in American Sign Language

Colloquialism is a word, phrase, or other form used in informal language mostly in non-written expression (whether signed or spoken) or in informal written expression, such as text messages.

Below are some examples of colloquialisms and slang words in American Sign Language (ASL) used by culturally Deaf signers.

Some ASL colloquial words and phrases are commonly known and well-spread, such as KISSFIST, TRUE+BIZ, and so on. Few other slang words may be known only to the "core insiders".

The duo in this video demonstrates some more ASL colloquialisms and slang phrases: pehpeh, hands-off (or the term "notmyproblem" used in this video), "sick", "cough", "mute" ("say nothing"), KISSFIST-YOU ("love you!), "true business" (sure enough), ACCEPT-HARD ("suck it up") and more.

Related posts

Related topics: Idioms.

New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be a useful review for intermediate-level learners and ASL students as well.

Some tutorial pages are a mix of free and premium versions. Access to premium content and links below are available in the PatronPlus subscription. More links/posts will be added from time to time.

Expressing needs and wants

  1. Making commands or requests

Talking about activities

  1. Frequency of time: how often?

Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)

Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.

This documentation project follows a child's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, from newborn to age five in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.