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American Sign Language: "turkey" (the bird)

The sign for "turkey" (as in, we eat "turkey" on Thanksgiving) is done by holding a "Q" under, on, or near your chin. Wiggle it a couple times as if it were a "wattle." (And in case you were wondering, a wattle is the reddish thing that hangs off a turkey's neck.)



In a message dated 2/4/2007 8:07:59 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, Glopsey writes:
Small question:
I know the "official" sign for turkey using the Q shaped hand. One professor of mine used an alternative that all other deaf professors say is more of a labeling sign. Make a 5 shape with your left. Make an A with your right take the pinky side of your A hand and press it to the palm of your left 5 shape. It looks like a turkey. I prefer this sign, but the others (or as you said in your site, "Purists") don't like it. I think it's cute! What's your take on it?
Thanks much!
ASL student (not majoring, just for fun!!!)

I love that sign! 
It is a clever, playful use of the language.  I wouldn't use it for serious communication, but it is a lot of fun. I call such signs "joke" signs -- meaning they are not actually used by native adult Deaf people for conversation but rather they are used for "playing around."
Let me share with you another version of that "playful" sign for "turkey": Form one of your hands (generally your dominant hand) into a "five" handshape, and the other hand into an "i" handshape.  You press the thumb side of the "I" handshape up against the palm of the "5" hand.  The "5"-hand represents the tail feathers.  The pinkie of the "i"-hand represents the neck and head.
-- Dr. Bill

In a message dated 3/25/2007 10:41:38 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, thundertree@ writes:
Hi Bill,
How are you doing so far? I hope you're doing well. I was asked what the sign for a country named "Turkey"? I have seen it a few times but forgotten. Do you know?

Hi RaVen,
The version I've seen is a modified "C" hand on the middle of the forehead.  You make a "C" with just the thumb and index finger, sort of like signing "moon" on your forehead.  It represents the crescent moon that is on the Turkish flag.
Dr. Bill


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