Signs for AFGHANISTAN

There is no original ASL sign for it; thus, a signed loanword from Afghan Sign Language. Though, there are reportedly several signs and variations for "Afghanistan" from Deaf Afghans. The videos show some signs.

Meaning: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, landlocked country located within South Asia and Central Asia.

Pronunciation: "A" handshape with the open thumb (unlike the letter A), moving sideways.

Rohullah, a local Deaf Afghan in Kabul, Afghanistan, demonstrated the sign for Afghanistan in Joel Barish's interview (August 2020) with Rohullah. Rohullah mentions that this sign has been used for a long while since then.

The reason for the sign is the handshape that is similar to the shape of the country. Rohullah explained in his other video on his personal FB page that a group of Deaf persons contemplated for about ten days before officially made the sign which appeared in Afghan Sign Language Dictionary (published February 2009).

[Video clip excerpted from Joel Barish's Coffee with Joel interview with Rohullah, August 19, 2021]

Variation from the late 20th century and may continue into the present time by some signers. This is probably a common, older sign before the first one above.

This sign was reportedly to be commonly used by Deaf Arab students at Gallaudet University.

A Deaf Afghan showed me this sign (above) many years ago as well as a number of other Deaf students in a literacy class showed the other Deaf teacher.

Another variation is the arc movement from "5" handshape to "flat 0" on the side of the forehead as illustrated in the video above [contributed by Anesti Rafi, 2020].

There is a variation of this sign with the same location : "A" outward from the forehead into "5" in neutral space. Another variation of this sign is the backward.

Another sign as demonstrated above. [Video contributed by Felipe Eduardo Ramos, 2020.]

These are not conventional nor official signs in ASL. In addition, there are several different signs that ASL-speaking Deaf learn different (non-conventional) signs from Deaf Afghans.

This entry will be updated with any further information.

Related signs: COUNTRY, MIDDLE EAST.

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