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SNOW: The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "snow"

There are several "right" ways to sign "snow."
Here's my recommended way to sign it:
Hold your hands up in the air. Flutter your fingers as you move your hands down and side to side. (But, as always, you should sign it however it is signed by your local Deaf or local ASL instructor.)













If you are referring to a "SNOW BANK" there are two common versions:





SNOW + HILL (depictive):




Sample sentence: Do you like to build a snowman? = YOU LIKE MAKE SNOW-MAN?


Another sample sentence: Do you like snow on Christmas? = CHRISTMAS, YOU LIKE SNOW YOU?




Some people touch their hands to their shoulders at the beginning of  the sign snow. I've never liked that version because it makes me think of dandruff.

Some people do the sign "WHITE" at the beginning of the sign "snow." I suppose that is to distinguish it from "yellow snow?"  -- Which could be a very helpful distinction if you happen to be thirsty.









In a message dated 5/21/2012 2:00:52 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, an ASL teacher writes:

Dear Dr. Vicars,
I am starting lessons 13 & 14 with one of my classes. As always, I check to see if I sign the same way you do before assigning vocabulary.  I looked at snow and we do sign that differently. You sign it like a "flurry" (I like!). When I learned snow, I learned it "White+rain" Did it change or do you think this is regional? My professor / boss was a CODA.

Hello :)
The sign for snow varies quite a bit by region (and from signer to signer).
I choose to do the "fluttering-fingers side-to-side downward movement" version of SNOW because it is the simplest and most straightforward of the various versions out there.
The other versions are not "wrong" they are just more complex and take more work. I don't know about you, but my life is complex enough and I have more than enough work, so I think I'll keep doing it the simple way.
I differentiate SNOW from RAIN by using a fluttering downward side to side movement for SNOW and using a down, up, down movement for rain.
If for some reason you needed to be "absolutely clear" that you were signing "snow" and not "rain" I could see the point in adding the sign "WHITE" to the beginning of the "SNOW" sign. But if the context of your sentence makes it obvious that you mean "snow" then the additional sign (WHITE) is not necessary.
-- Dr. Bill
p.s. If you decide to sign "snow" as "WHITE + RAIN" then you go ahead and sign it "WHITE + RAIN" and remind your students that you are the instructor and that you are giving the grade in your class and not some guy on the internet. And just because some bald (but rather handsome) guy shows "a" way to do a sign it doesn't mean it is the "only" way to do it and that the reason why it is important to have a local, skilled instructor (such as yourself) is so that you can show them how signs are done locally by the Deaf in your area.


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