HAT in sign language

And, don't miss a little story about the black hat below.

Printable ASL sign for HAT

ASL sign for HAT

How do you say "hat" in ASL?

Definition: A shaped covering for the head worn for warmth, as a fashion item, or as part of a uniform.

Pronunciation (sign description): Dominant flat hand with the palm down slightly above the head taps on the head twice.

The Black Hat: a "zap" anecdote

First, explain the contexts for those who are not familiar with Deaf history. In the old days before the age of "diversity, inclusivity, and equity" policy, Deaf people deal with oppression through resistance, humor, and other forms. This anecdote is one of some good examples of resistance and how deaf people cope with oppression.

Before the 21th century, it was not unusual to find hearing teachers who didn't teach well to their deaf students (and often they didn't speak ASL well nor signed well). Some of them didn't care for the deaf students' education.

In the 1970s(?) at Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University), there was a hearing teacher who showed up in his classes about 15-20 minutes late every time to the point that Deaf Gallaudet students were so fed up.

The whole class of Deaf students discussed and agreed not to show up the next class. The hearing teacher showed up late as usual and found no one was in his class.

Next class, he showed up on time and lectured everyone, signing, roughly translated as, "Attention, everyone! Listen, look at this black hat on the desk. What does it mean? If you see this hat on the desk, it means I will come here. You all STAY here and wait for me. Okay?"

Next class, the hearing teacher showed up late as usual. Entering the class, he saw nobody was in the class but there were all students' hats sitting on their desks!

Deaf people can be witty. Like this story? The genre of this story is called "zap story" in Deaf literature. Yes, it's a true told by one of my Deaf elders.

Related signs and vocabulary

Not only hats keep you warm, they also transform you to some degree. Cute BEANIE flatters your look, KNIT CAP (also TOUQUE) keeps you warm in winters, BERET zaps your artistic look, HOOD makes you look so mysterious or maybe suspicious.

Are you in ASL 101, learning some vocabulary related to clothes? Here are some words: SCARF (good luck with signing this), BAG (ah, easy), COAT to keep you warm in chilly weather, JACKET, GLOVES, and SUNGLASSES.

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 HAT

Written ASL digit for "HAT" contributed by the ASLwrite community, 2018.

How to write ASL for HAT

Written ASL digit for HAT. Variation of the handshape. The curve represents the top of the head. Above the head is the handshape with two dots meaning double tap on the head. [Contributed by ASLwrite, 2020]

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