American Sign Language
"I love you" sign:
ILY "I love you" ASL handshape (version) © 2007
Lifeprint.com Adapted from Gallaudet Type Font
The Gallaudet font is copyright (c) 1991 by David
Rakowski. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
In a message dated 7/20/2005 4:01:24 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
Hello Dr Vicars I am a mature student currently learning Stage 2
Bsl I also
do Vaulantry work with Deaf Blind UK as in Telephone support and
I wonder if you could help me please. My pen friend is Deaf
Blind and lives
in UK she has an American Pen Friend her friend sent a Gold
Badge that come
out in America for School Children to be aware of sign Language
as my friend
and the friend in America are both Deaf Blind nobody Knows what
means. As they don't sign I have looked at your site on the net
sings I thought It would mean its not. And some of the signs in
different . Our sign classes are on Summer vacation at the
moment so I can't
ask there either.
Thank you for your time I hope you can Help me help my Friends
Are you saying that there is a picture of a "signed" word on
the gold badge?
And you want to know what that sign means?
If so, what does the picture look like? Could you send me a
photo scan of the picture or maybe describe it to me so I
can tell you what the sign means?
In a message dated 7/20/2005 12:21:38 PM Pacific Daylight
Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Thank you very much for answering my Email I understand the
in Colorado Spring All got one to help with deaf awareness
then they went in
the shops for people to buy It is a gold Badge hope this
That handsign is an acronym standing for "I Love You." It
is a combination of the ASL fingerspelled letters "I," "L,"
and "Y." It is called the ILY sign. The typed letters "ILY
" are often used as a valediction (farewell statement) in
romantic emails, IMs, (instant messages) TTY (teletype)
conversations, and other text-based correspondence.
In a message dated 7/20/2005 3:30:08 PM Pacific Daylight
Time, email@example.com writes:
Thanks a Million for your help god bless susan
Also see: ILY
In a message dated 10/7/2007 2:33:48 P.M. Pacific
Daylight Time, monk.289 writes:
Hey, my name is Harris, and I was wondering if you
could help me out with something. I'm an extremely
brand new signer who is finding your website extremely
helpful. I recently met a girl who was deaf, and it
frustrated me how difficult it was to communicate with
her, and so I started teaching myself to sign. I only
meet people who can sign on an infrequent basis, so I
don't get much practice learning to sign and extremely
little practice on how to read signing (although your
videos on your site are a very big help). However,
there is one thing on your website that confused me, and
that's the sign for Love. The deaf people I meet tell
me that the two handed love sign (where it looks like
your hugging yourself) is way old and almost obsolete,
while the ILY sign is now used to represent love. Is
it just a localized thing, or is the new way to sign
love? I'd appreciate anybody who knows to help me out.
The one handed sign (ILY) is an acronym that means I love
Thus it is not the same as the sign "LOVE
The ILY sign is less formal than the crossed arms LOVE sign.
The LOVE sign may be old, but I do believe it is a solid and
well entrenched sign--thus it will continue to be used well
into the future.
In a message dated 8/18/2011 10:57:35 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
I have another question for you. Do the sign for ILY or "I love
you." Then, cross your fingers (index and middler) at the same time.
When I was a kid, someone told me that this means, "I love you very
much!" but I've never seen anyone ever use this (except me, still
believing this childhood myth). What do you say? Does such a sign
actually exist? Does it mean what I think it means?
~ Ames :0)
The version of ILY you mentioned (the one with the middle and index
crossed) means "I Really Love You." It is a combination of the
letters: I, R, L, and Y. As you've noticed, it is not used much in
the Deaf Community. It is mostly just a "cute" or "amusing" bit of
signing that we trot out at parties to amuse ourselves with as an
example of how many different ways we can inflect the same sign.
For example, a fun version is to do the ILY sign and hold the hand
steady and pointed upright as normal but rotate just the index
finger (so that it looks like you drawing a small circle with the
tip of the index finger). By adding that movement of the index
finger you are incorporating the sign
"SINGLE/ONLY/SOMEONE/SOMETHING" into the ILY sign. Thus changing the
sign to mean, "I love 'only' you!"
Dr. Bill's new iPhone "Fingerspelling Practice" app is
GET IT HERE!
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