Sign Names: KSL vs ASL

You’re given a sign name if you’re part of the deaf community or if you’re learning sign language.  It is considered a “cultural rule” that you must get your sign name from a deaf person.

Generally, a person’s sign name in ASL will start with the first letter of their name.  A lot of times the sign will be somewhere on the chest, arm, or head.

KSL is very different.  It’s rare for a person to get a sign name that starts with the first letter of their name or any letter.   Many name signs will demonstrate something unique to a person’s physical appearance.

A few examples:

–A person has a birthmark on his ear so his sign name is up by his ear.

–A person used to wear hats all the time so her sign name is similar the shape of a baseball cap.

–A person has a cute little nose that turns upwards so her sign name emphasizes that.

–A person used to suck two of his fingers as a kid so his name sign is similar to that.

–A person loves heart so her sign name is similar to drawing a half of a heart.

–A person used to have severe acne so her sign name illustrates that.

I thought it was already hard to figure out a person’s name with ASL.  Oftentimes, deaf people don’t mouth words and it is common for people to not know each other’s names and only their sign name.  So if you forget their name after they introduce themselves (it is expected for a person to fingerspell their name and then show their name sign….and from that point on you use their sign name).  I could usually eventually figure out a deaf person’s name by lipreading a hearing person and taking into account knowing the first letter of their name.

With KSL it’s impossible to even start guessing what a person’s name could be!  There’s nothing from the name sign to even begin to suggest what their name could be.

It’s fascinating…….

2 thoughts on “Sign Names: KSL vs ASL

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