Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Britain Updates Its Sign Language

"... the flick of a limp wrist to signify a homosexual [has] fallen out of favour. ... Miming a hook nose to refer to Jewish people is also now deemed unacceptable by signers."

42 Comments / Post A Comment


I... am unsure whether or not that link leads to where you want it to lead.


@thatgirl It's better this way.


@thatgirl Dude is totally judging my sign language. :( Look at that expression.


@thatgirl HAHAHAHAHA



Edith Zimmerman

@thatgirl Oh my god you guys!!! I'm sorry AHHHH FIXED. I almost want to explain, but I don't think I should!!!


@Edith Zimmerman TELL US!


@H.E. Ladypants It is a joke, @thatgirl is putting words in the judgmental dude's mouth.


@Edith Zimmerman It made a tense half hour at work so much better, and I almost don't want the magic to be ruined!

Edith Zimmerman

@SuperGogo Ohhh I am so tempted but really it will not work. Hahaha. Sorry!

Edith Zimmerman

@thatgirl But I will say that the person I accidentally linked to is a good, excellent person!

Reginal T. Squirge

I'm so glad I got here just barely in time to see that original link.


@Edith Zimmerman Plus he was HOTTTT, can you introduce me?

OR! are YOU already dating him? Did you meet him in Iceland, he had an Icelandic look about him. when is the wedding? your kids are going to be so beautiful.

Edith Zimmerman

@Marzipan Hahaha. He is ... related to me, mostly.


@Edith Zimmerman Hahaha and our rampant imaginations get a fraction of the truth out again!


@Edith Zimmerman Wait, I thought that was a picture of Fassbender where he didn't totally look like Fassbender or something.


@thatgirl Please, please just tell us latecomers what the incorrect link was.


@Kakapo Only because your name and avatar are my favorite creature ever.

It was a link to a picture of a very attractive man who vaguely resembles (at least to me) Michael Fassbender.


@thatgirl But I must see the actual link!

And, thank you, thank you. We are excellent birds.


I'm torn between needing to read the actual source and enjoying where the link leads.


I was wondering if he was posing with a limp wrist which had just been cropped out.

fondue with cheddar

@maebytonight I came too late to see the original link! WHAT WAS IT


@fondue with cheddar (formerly jen325) A handsome man looking pensive.


I use BSL on a daily basis and am always either amused or faintly horrified [or, on occasion and for my sins, both] at the origins of certain signs.

Kate Kane

@mango It's the same with ASL. I had a friend recently start learning it who came back demanding to know why no one had told him sign language was "racist as shit." To get reactions like that, probably!


@Kate Kane I remember starting to learn and pretty much having that exact reaction. Nowadays I learn to politely ask if there's an alternate sign I can use (perfect excuse: "Is that a regional sign? I've never seen it - is there another sign for that word I could use?" Nine times out of ten, there'll be an alternative)


All those gestures combined kind of seem like somebody trying to mime Fagin.


@Decca Charles Dickens was actually the person who codified BSL.


It is pretty cool that the Internet has sped up sign language evolution, because deaf people can talk to people across the globe instead of just people who are physically right in front of them. Science!


As long as you can still say "the cops stole my weed" the same way in ASL, it's all good. (It's one of the only things my friends know how to sign. I mostly know curse words, thanks to my deaf second stepmother.)


In the few bits of British sign language I know, German involves the miming of a helmet and Scottish involves miming playing the bagpipes (not racist, just funny). The word Auntie is some sort of pointing to chin as if there are whiskers growing there which, speaking as an auntie, in my case obviously there are just not.

Daisy Razor

One of my best friends is a preschool teacher and she had always sung Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to the kids with her own made-up hand gestures, until a mom who spoke ASL pointed out that the sign she was using for diamond was incorrect. Two funny things about this story:

1) The actual sign for "diamond" is apparently to tap one's ring finger.
2) The sign my friend was using is ASL for "vagina."


If it's anything like ASL then I assume they're changing ALL of the signs for countries and continents?
Because those are hella racist, yo. "Vietnamese" is just making a triangle shape over your head like one of those conical straw hats.


I have an Open University book on BSL (published 1988, my copy was printed in 1995) which says, "Both people and places can be named according to some characteristics of appearance or behaviour. These BSL signs were created a long time ago to describe the behaviour of certain countries at that time, but are still used today". The signs are as follows:
France - twirled moustache
Germany - 1914 helmet (the ones with the spikes on)
Russia - Communist salute

I love it.

Vera Knoop

My favorite signs in ASL are "fail" and "flattery"-- they're both like little finger-poems. Don't know BSL, though.

Ham Snadwich

The only phrase I know in ASL is "bitch, please", which came in handy when we played the deaf rugby team.


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