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Is there an ASL sign for tamale or tamales?

While there is no widespread widely recognized American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "tamales" -- there is sign borrowed from LSM (Lenguaje de Señas Mexicana).*

Tap two "F" hands together.  It is easy to visualize how the index and thumb could represent the round "fillings" of a tamale and the other fingers could represent the corn husks.

Source: Adapted from the advertisement poster for the play, "Tamales De Puerco."
In the poster you will see a very clever use of the TAMALE sign to represent the second "A" the the spelled word "tamales."

Check out the advertising poster:

Tamales, (March 31, 2013), "Tamales de Puerco (Pork Tamales): A trilingual play in English, Spanish & American Sign Language April 5-28," En•clave LA, retrieved 3/10/2019 from <>


Here is a video example:

Source: Tamale (Mar 11, 2015) "IMG 9748," Hansel Jensen Miranda Esquivel, Youtube channel, retrieved 3/12/2019 from





An ASL Hero from "Pueblo, Colorado" wrote in to share that of the five sign language teachers he surveyed, four chose to spell the word "tamale" (T-A-M-A-L-E).  "One teacher showed 2 F hands, palm up, touch the pinky sides of the hands together. Then move with almost a roll so the pinky side remains in contact but now the thumb side is in contact. This does look quite like the closing of the corn husks when making a tamale."
Source: Personal Correspondence, (Tue, Mar 12, 2019 8:31 am) "LP Sign Search Requests," Matthew Mejia, <email on file>.

Note: LSM (Lenguaje de Señas Mexicana) is also sometimes referred to as "Mexican Sign Language."


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