Signs for DOORBELL

Definition: A bell or a set of chimes in a building that can be rung by visitors outside to signal their arrival.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant "10" hand (handshape), its palm facing in and its thumb facing the non-dominant upright flat hand with its palm facing right (orientation), both hands apart in space (location), dominant thumb taps twice on the non-dominant palm (movement).

Related signs: DOOR, BELL, RING (sound).

Deaf Culture

Showing the image as shown below in my ASL 200-level class, I asked the students to tell me what it is. Can you guess what this is?

Doorbell in the olden days in Deaf culture
Source: Gallaudet Today magazine.

Most, if not virtually all, of my students would reply a 'doorknob'. No, it isn't. For a couple of minutes more they couldn't guess the right answer. A hint is that it has something to do with a doorbell. Another hint, what are some ideas when there was no sound nor light doorbell in the old days?

In the olden days before the electronic light-based doorbell became available in the dorm rooms at Gallaudet University, a person pulled the doorbell and released it. It created a strong vibration that called a Deaf dorm resident (and other adjacent room residents too).

Video: At a Deaf family's house, there is a light-flashing doorbell throughout the "Deaf house".

For more creative "technology" and cues that Deaf people use in the old days, see advanced and primitive technology from doorbells and phone rings to alarm clocks and baby cries.

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 DOORBELL

There are two dots (repeats) on the palm of the passive hand. The line below the passive hand indicates a vertical orientation. The active hand shows the 'thumb' handshape.

ASL digit written and contributed by Adrean Clark in the ASLwrite community, 2017.

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