PEN in sign language

Pen is like a magic wand that can manifest abstract concepts onto paper for writers and poets. With a few strokes of the pen, the words manifest on a paper that can communicate with readers across generations and geography.

ASL signs for PEN

"How do you sign "pen" in American Sign Language (ASL)?" There are two common signwords.

Meaning: an object to write on (paper, document, etc.)

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant "20" or "baby O" handshape with thumb and forefinger together pointing toward non-dominant palm-up flat hand moves in a brief "N-like" motion.

Variation (sign description): Fingerspelling is also very commonly used.


Deaf Culture

In the old days, paper and pen used to be indispensable that Deaf people typically carried them with them whenever they went out, especially in the 20th century. These days, smartphone has been another "paper and pen" option. Though, many Deaf people just speak in ASL -- something like a request for paper and pen -- and then servers would provide a paper and pen.

For a Deaf-friendly service, when some Deaf people speak in ASL to a hearing person, in most cases, a hearing server gets a pen, presses on the cashier to roll up a piece of blank receipt paper and tear it, and hand them to Deaf customers. Or a receptionist would get a pen and a notepad, sometimes a pack of stickers whatever is available. Some Deaf people can speak and lipread, while some other Deaf don't and/or prefer paper-and-pen communication.

In some situations, hearing servers write on the paper. In other situations, workers, especially in the renovation or repair services, often use "voice to text" on their smartphones. In some cases, they type on their phones and show Deaf customers or send texts to Deaf customers even they both are present. Sometimes, mediums are used in the mix.


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