Greetings in Sign Language

Introducing one another

Learn how to express greetings in sign language and ASL culture. The most common greetings in ASL are hi and hello.

Simply express "hi". It's very commonly used in everyday use.

Another way is the sign hello. A Deaf signer may sign "hello" in a formal scenario (e.g. a presenter's greeting to the audience).

The ASL sign glossed as HI doesn't always translate into English "hi" but sometimes "hello". There is a variation of intonation.

Sometimes, when a Deaf friend hasn't seen his/her dear friend for a long time, they might sign HELLO with some intonation. It's equivalent to "big hello".

For a beginner, just be familiar with these two signs. There are several variations of "hi" and "hello" that learners may observe over time at Deaf social events.

Hug greeting

A greeting hug is a common greeting exchange among Deaf friends and acquaintances in the ASL/American Deaf community where the ASL/Deaf members have been historically close-knitted or close-networked.

Deaf people don't usually exchange this greeting hug with other people outside their culture. Instead, handshaking or saying "hello" is a regular exchange.

Conversation openers

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Related posts

You may also be interested in expressing manners, such as SORRY, PLEASE, etc.

Learn how to introduce yourself in sign language.

After greeting, here are some conversational openers.

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.

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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.)

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.