ELEPHANT in sign language

We all may be familiar with the old saying, 'An elephant never forgets.' Do elephants really have solid memories?

"Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth and have quite the memory to go along with their massive size. While the old saying may be exaggerated, it's more true than not." -- Ref


How do you sign "elephant" in American Sign Language?

Definition: A heavy plant-eating mammal with a prehensile trunk, long curved ivory tusks, and large ears, native to Africa and southern Asia.

Pronunciation (production): Dominant loosely bent "B" (handshape), palm down (orientation), wave outward and downward from the nose (location and movement). Variation: "C" handshape with the same movement and location.

Baby signing "elephant"

Cute and sweet how the two-year-old bilingual ASLian signed ELEPHANT as if she was trumpeting and charging when she was just signing and running when she was distracted by something.

The toddler and her mother were exploring the book "Have You Ever Seen...? American Sign Language (ASL) Handshape DVD/Book" by Adonia K. Smith and E. Lynn Jacobowitz. This book is great for all ages, including pictures, Deaf culture notes, and American Sign Language.

Art of the elephant by Julianna LC
Drawing by four-year-old preschooler Juli

Out in the Wild

Canadian-born Deaf zoologist Nancy Barker, who spent her 11+ years in southern Africa, earned a PhD for "her research on the concurrent spatiotemporal ecology of African lions and spotted hyenas and the potential for inter- and intraspecific interactions in semi-arid and wetland ecosystems". Ref

Dr. Baker is the first Deaf zoologist to be awarded a PhD in conservation sciences. She thanked Deaf people their advocacy for accessibility of interpreting services over the past decades that helped pave the way for her to earn the PhD. "I would have preferred not to have been the first one, but now that it has been done, I hope that the path has been set, and that many more will follow." -- Nancy Baker, 2022

Art of the elephant by jolanta lapiak
Drawing by Jolanta Lapiak, circa 2005

Related signs

Zoologist Nancy demonstrated how a elephant's TRUNK acts like a straw. She also explained about a coordination of the animals, such as GIRAFFES to watch out for the LIONS at the waterhole.

More vocabulary: ANIMAL, TUSK.

Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

ASL written for ELEPHANT

Written ASL digit for "ELEPHANT" (with the thumb open) contributed by the ASLwrite community, 2018.

~~ Feeling lucky? ¯\(°_o)/¯ Random word ~~