NAME in sign language
Name is typically one of the very first words that ASL beginners learn on the first days of ASL 101 classes.
This word entry introduces how to sign 'name' in American Sign Language and links to vocabulary and information on name signs.
ASL sign for NAME
Definition: A word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.
Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant horizontal "H" handshape with the edge of its middle finger taps twice on the top edge of the index finger of the passive hand which is the horizontal "H" handshape. Both "H" hands are kind of cross diagonally from the signer's perspective.
Usage example: "Hi, my name is [personal name]" which is glossed in ASL as "HI, IX-me NAME [fingerspelling]". Hearing beginners would often sign "MY NAME [fingerspelling]". It's not really wrong, but Deaf signers use "IX-me NAME.." and "MY NAME..." in different contexts.
Verb: to give a name to (one movement).
Learner tip: Similar sign for MENTION but different meaning in contexts.
Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant horizontal "H" handshape (palm orientation NOT facing down) tapping once on the top of the passive horizontal "H" handshape (palm orientation also not facing down). The movement is slightly longer compared to the noun (first video above).
In Deaf culture, most Deaf people and members of Deaf community as well as deaf children in deaf schools have their name signs.
Q: "What is the name sign for MARY (or any personal name)?"
A: Fingerspelling for personal names is the only translation. Because, name signs are independent from spoken-language personal names on one's birth certificate. Name signs are created and gifted by Deaf people to members of Deaf community. Deaf parents also give name signs to their children.
Vocabulary for NAME SIGN.
Here is a few links to the Learn-section tutorials: learn how to introduce your name in American Sign Language and learn more about how name signs are given in Deaf culture and the types of name signs, including descriptive name signs and arbitrary name signs as well as some examples of name signs..
[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.]
By ASLwrite community, Feb. 2017.
The two dots represent two movements (twice on the side of the index finger) with two "U" or "H" handshapes.