CHINA: Point at your upper
left chest area (if you are right handed) then draw a large (backward) 7. (Note: your finger doesn't actually
have to touch your body on this sign.)
Memory hint: Think of the buttons on certain styles of Chinese clothing.
Note: This sign is a "loan sign." It has been borrowed from
Chinese Sign Language. Many people feel it is more respectful to Chinese
people to use their sign when referring to China. This sign is becoming
increasingly popular in America.
CHINA (Newer, politically correct version)
See animation of China
There is an older variation of the sign for CHINA (Chinese) that many people
still use. You point to the side of the eye and twist your hand twice. Quite
a few people consider this sign to be "rude." (On the other hand though,
quite a few people think of it as THE sign for China and if you do the other
"newer" version those people will wonder what the heck you are signing.)
Hmmm, what to do? When in Rome (or China) do as the Romans (or
Chinese) do. If you local Deaf friend or Teacher uses/prefers one
version or the other then stick with that version until you find a
compelling reason to sign otherwise.
CHINESE / CHINA (legacy version)
Animation: Traditional version of CHINA:
Not for classroom use.
The version below is not recommended for communication in ASL and is presented here
in response to a question from an ASL teacher in Hawaii.
CHINA: Emerging Variation in the Hawaii area?
In a message dated 2/1/2010 2:48:52 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
an ASL instructor from Hawaii (makbeth19) writes:
Aloha Dr. V.
For my class tomorrow, can you tell me whether the sign for "China"
has been changed again on the Mainland? Here in the islands we no
longer use the clothing sign for China/Chinese, although it was
common here for several years ... now we use a representation of the
kanji for China ... non-dominant hand makes "G", and the dominant
hand taps that with a "1." I've attached a jpeg of the kanji as
well as me signing it to try and give you an idea of what the sign
is going for. Hope it helps. This is the common sign for "China"
here. Have you ever seen it used on the Mainland?
Mahalo no kokua,
Just last week I was giving a presentation (regarding "online ASL
classes) and one of the participants (a Deaf, highly experienced ASL
instructor) brought up the CHINA sign. This person was adamant
about not accepting the "borrowed" version of the CHINA sign based on
the "buttons/clothing" of the military uniform. This person
uses the old "index finger twist at the side of the eye" version of the
sign for CHINA.
Thus I can tell you that as of early 2010 you will see both the "clothing based"
sign and the "eye based" both still being used in mainland America.
Your mentioning the Kanji sign is the first I've heard of it here. So
I'm going to make a note of it at Lifeprint under the "China" page
mention the Kanji version as a variation seen in
[Update: I purchased a Chinese Dictionary of Chinese Sign Language while
I was in Taipei attending the Deaflympics. Later, as I was
reviewing the book, I came across the sign mentioned by Beth (above). The
Chinese dictionary listed this sign as referring to "Taichung
which is actually a very large city in Taiwan. Thus I do not think that
this sign means "China" in general in Chinese Sign Language. However
this particular kanji character in Japanese
writing is sometimes used as
an abbreviation for "China" so next time I interact with some Deaf
Japanese I'll certainly ask them to elaborate.]
In a message dated 1/6/2013 12:29:01 A.M. Pacific Standard
Time, ryanerwin writes:
I'm American, from Seattle, but I've been stationed in China
for seven years. I'm fluent in spoken Mandarin and in
written Simplified Chinese. My relatives in the US have been
talking about Baby Sign Language, so I've been looking into
it. Particularly, if Baby Sign Language would work in China,
it's very rare here in China.
I'm writing since I noticed that on your LifePrint ASL
"China" page (http://lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/c/china.htm)
<< Update: I purchased a Chinese Dictionary of Chinese Sign
Language while I was in Taipei attending the Deaflympics.
Later, as I was reviewing the book, I came across the sign
mentioned by Beth (above). The Chinese dictionary listed
this sign as referring to "Taichung" which is actually a
very large city in Taiwan. Thus I do not think that this
sign means "China" in general in Chinese Sign Language.
However this particular kanji character in Japanese writing
is sometimes used as an abbreviation for "China" so next
time I interact with some Deaf Japanese I'll certainly ask
them to elaborate.>>
Thought I would provide some clarification for you. In
Taiwan, there's a city called 台中 (i.e. "middle of taiwan)
that would be transliterated in Taiwan as "Taichung" or
transliterated in Mainland China as "Taizhong". It's
conceivable that someone in Taiwan may think "中" referred to
"taichung", but it would depend a lot on the context. "中"
could mean "on target", "middle", or most commonly "China".
When you seen China described in english as the "Middle
Kingdom", people are just literally translating China's
name: 中国. 中 = middle 国 = country. Like 美国 （USA）, 美 ＝
beautiful, 国 ＝ country.
Also interesting, the limited Baby Sign Language that is
used in China seems to be based on ASL rather than on
Chinese Sign Language.
-Ryan in Shanghai=
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