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Maine: The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "Maine, (USA)"

While some people do the sign Maine on the non-dominant side of the upper chest, my research (see below) seems to indicate that the dominant side of the chest is somewhat more common and such being the case I'm going to recommend you sign Maine as if you were doing a double movement version of the BENEFIT (profit, positive-gain) sign.


MAINE (the state of Maine in the U.S.)




The following research notes were compiled from publicly posted information and include the source of the material.
If eventually the source material is removed from being online doesn't change the fact that at the time of posting (March 12, 2023) the information was available as described (to the best of my knowledge).  Personally, I think the information below is awesome and I hope the individuals appreciate the free publicity to their video but if anyone on the list would like to be removed just ask and "poof" you will be gone.


Research Notes:

MAINE (dominant side)

Joshua Seal, Deaf, ASL is his native language, works at the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf on Mackworth Island, in Falmouth, Maine, USA, adjacent to its border with Portland, Maine, at the 15 second mark:



Maine (dominant side)
Dave Bouchard, a Deaf racer, and his all Deaf pit crew based in Maine at the 23 second mark:



Maine (dominant side)

The interpreter for Karen Hopkins, (Director at the Maine Educational Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing) at the 1:04 mark:


Maine (dominant side)

Justin Gifford of the Main Center on Deafness (manager of the telecommunication equipment program) at the 54 second mark:



Maine (dominant side)

Evah Hellewella full-time interpreter in Maine being interviewed by Michelle Ames (of the Maine Center on Deafness) signs Maine on the dominant side at the 31 second mark:





Maine (dominant side example)
Rosa Lee Timm at the 40 second mark of:



Maine (dominant side example)
Rogan Shannon at the 2:22 mark of:



Maine (dominant side example)
The president’s interpreter just after the 1:43 mark of:



Maine (dominant side example)

Daily Moth newscaster Alex Abenchuchan at the 17:04 mark of:



Does the fact that there are many examples (including from Maine residents) of MAINE being signed on the dominant side mean that everyone signs MAINE on the dominant side?  No, there some people who sign MAINE on the non-dominant side. For example, Regan Thibodeau, (Deaf, Ph.D., grew up in Maine) can be observed in at least one video signing Maine on the non-dominant side example. There is also a popular, generally accurate online ASL dictionary that apparently (don't quote me on this) shows a woman I believe to be named Wanda McMullen signing MAINE on the non-dominant side.

However, as of March, 2023, it is my opinion that the most common and historically accurate sign for Maine is the one that is done on the dominant side of the upper chest area.
I am of course certainly open to debate but if so, please make sure you are sourcing socially active signers.


Maine (non-dominant side example)

Regan Thibodeau, Ph.D, native Deaf, native of Maine, at the 2:06 mark of:



(Possible) Etymology of the sign for Maine:

Chris Walsh a resident of South Portland, Maine mentioned in a Facebook post on January 11, 2018, that Maine why he thinks Maine is signed the way it is:
"Elderly explained to me when you have to pull needle pine out of your shirt from between chest and shoulder."

Meryl Troop, in the same thread, confirmed, "That's what Deaf people was told me when I moved to Maine 30+ years ago."

A few posters mentioned they thought the sign might have been associated (possibly jokingly) with the concept of profit since Maine is a vacation destination and pulls in a lot of profit from visitors.

Of possible additional interest is that in the above thread Darleen Michalec stated that "The original sign was "m" in a clockwise circular motion."

Reference / Source:  Retrieved 3/15/2023


Totally just an opinion here but to me as a researcher the "pine needle" etymology seems to be the more defensible theory and that the "profit" etymology is likely a contributing "folk etymology" constructed later and applied backward. That is simply my opinion after a brief review. (Bill Vicars, 2023)

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