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American Sign Language: "Hawaii"

The sign for "Hawaii" is done by drawing a circle around your face with an "H" hand.


(Model: Byron Cantrell)

Dr. Bill's Notes:
Memory aid: The signs for "pretty" and "beautiful" use a (somewhat) circular movement around the face. Hawaii is a "beautiful" place. This same approach is also used for the sign Monterey, California.
You might see another sign for "Hawaii" that looks a bit like someone doing a hula dance. It is a legitimate sign and I wouldn't mark it "wrong" on an expressive test (though some teachers might), but I wouldn't recommend you choose it as your main version of Hawaii for everyday signing. The one-handed "H" around the face version is fast, easy, and well accepted in the Deaf community.  I might use the hula dance sign in "creative signing" situations though, (poems, plays, children's stories, etc.).

Note: John Feagans (who lives in Hawaii, travels frequently to Japan, and interacts with Deaf people in both places) wrote to tell me that "Oahu" (one of the Hawaiian islands) uses the circular movement around the face with an "O" handshape. He also noted that Japanese Deaf people (using Japanese Sign Language) prefer the "hula dance" version of the sign for Hawaii.

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