ASL University ►

American Sign Language: "Army" or "military"

The sign for "Army" or military looks a lot like a person holding on to a rifle.
If you are right handed, the right "A" hand is held near the chest. The left "A" hand is held near the left side of your abdomen.  The hands are about two inches out from the body at the beginning of the sign.  Then you simultaneously thump both hands on your body.  Use a double motion (in-out-in).

Note: The sign "army" also means "military."

ARMY / "military"

Sample Sentence: Was your dad in the Army? = YOUR DAD ARMY PAST?


Question:  Molly writes:

Hi Bill,
I saw you a while back at the Cal-Ed confernece I do believe.
I am now teaching ASL in Riverside area. I was curious on if there is another sign for “Veteran” beside “Past Army”.  The term veteran includes all military which is marine, navy….and so on.
Thanks so much.
Keep in touch!!
- Molly _________

Hello Molly,
I tend to spell "V-E-T."  :)
But this brings up an important point.  Somewhere you have come across the sign
labeled as ARMY and someone or some book or website has told you that the way to sign "Veteran" is to sign "PAST ARMY."  What is important is to realize is that the sign commonly labeled as ARMY can also be interpreted as "military" or "soldier."  (Or sometimes you'll see "ARMY-person/agent" for "soldier.")
Thus you wouldn't really be signing "PAST ARMY" you would be signing "PAST MILITARY" -- the signs are the same, the problem is the labeling system.  After introducing the concept of a veteran as being someone who was previously in the military, for the rest of the conversation it would be more efficient to simply spell "V-E-T."
However, another approach, if you know what branch of military a person was in would be to sign "MARINE PAST," "NAVY PAST," "AIR-FORCE PAST," etc.

- Bill

Dr. Bill's new iPhone "Fingerspelling Practice" app is now available!   GET IT HERE!  

NEW!  Online "ASL Training Center!"  (Premium Subscription Version of ASLU)  ** CHECK IT OUT **

Also available: "" (a mirror of less traffic, fast access)  ** VISIT NOW **

Want to help support Lifeprint / ASLU?  It's easy!     

You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™  ©  Dr. William Vicars

back.gif (1674 bytes)