Indigenous signs for countries in Western Europe

Courtesy: TheInterpretersFriend.org

Western Europe

DH [B], PO > NDS, FO up, sweeps > left twice + [E], PO away, FO up, is held in place momentarily then [5], PO away, FO away, moves in a circle.

Austria (Oesterreich)

(1) (2h)[5] crossed at wrists, touch thumbs, and flutter fingers like a butterfly.1 (< eagle on old flag.) (2) (2h)[1] crossed at wrists, POs > signer, FOs up, wiggle fingers twice.1 For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see ASL browser - Austria. (< eagle on old flag.) (3) (2h)[V], POs > opposite side, FOs up, crossed at wrists, wiggle fingers twice. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see Woordenboek Nederlands - Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Oostenrijk.

Belgium (Belgique - België)

(1) [B], PO > NDS, touches side of mouth and moves away from signer. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see NEEDS Outreach: Belgium. (2) [5:] touches fingertips to top of head.1 (< royal crown.)

France (France)

(1) [F with index and thumb crossed], PO away from signer, FO up, moves > DS.1 (Edward Ingham reports: "some French Deaf friends told me that the reason why some French Deaf wiggle their hand while signing FRANCE or FRENCH with the F-handshape is because the lower three fingers represent the French tricolor [3-colors of the French flag].) For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see Woordenboek Nederlands - Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Frankrijk.

Germany (Deutschland)

[1], PO away from signer, FO up, taps wrist on top of head. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see NEEDS Outreach: Germany. (< spike on top of soldier's hat during the nineteenth century.)

Greece (Ελλάς)

(2h)[1], NDPO > DS, FO away, DH PO > signer, FO > NDS, DH taps NDH in midjoint from above.1 For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see NEEDS Outreach: Greece.

Greenland (Grønland/Kalaallit Nunaat)

(2h)[bX], POs ><, FOs up, hands are held at sides of head and nod forward twice as if puting up a hood. For a movie that shows this sign, see Greenland Videos | DeafNation at 0:34.

Ireland (Eire)

(1) (2h)[open 8], NDH held high over shoulder and DH held at stomach, strum air with middle fingers.1 (< playing an ancient Irish harp.) For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see Woordenboek Nederlands - Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Ierland (first image). (2) [Bb], is held at temple and pivots up and down. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see Woordenboek Nederlands - Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Ierland (second image).

Italy (Italia)

(1) [G], PO away from signer, FO > DS, descends while weaving from side to side.1 (2) [G], PO away, FO > DS, descends straight down.1 (< shape of country or chain of a St. Christopher's medal caught on a hairy chest, hence the weaving motion). For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see Woordenboek Nederlands - Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Italië (top image).

Luxembourg (Luxembourg)

(2h)[1], DH PO away from signer, FO up is held behind NDH PO down, FO > DS. DH rotates so that PO moves > NDS and changes to [X] while touching NDH.1

Monte Carlo

[S], PO up, FO away from signer, shakes dice in air, then throws them > NDS. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see NEEDS Outreach: Monte Carlo. (< gambling casino.)

Netherlands (Nederlands)

(1) [N], FO away, flaps at wrist. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see Woordenboek Nederlands - Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Nederlands (first image). (2) (2h)[B], touch FTs to temple and thumbs to base of head and separate while closing to [O^] and arcing up slightly.1 (< big Dutch hats.) For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see Woordenboek Nederlands - Vlaamse Gebarentaal: Nederlands (second image). Or for a static gif of this sign, see Surdimobil - Dictionnaire des signes. Click on "H", then "Hollande". It will look like nothing has happened, but scroll down to see the illustration.

Portugal (Portugal)

(1) (2h)[P], touch middle fingers to shoulder blades, then touch each other.1 (< matador's cape.) (2) [P] touches middle finger to forehead, then nose, then chin.1 (< shape of country resembling a person's profile.) (3) The index finger traces a line down the face from the forehead to the chin. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see ASL browser - Portugal. (4) [3], PO down, FO > NDS, touches thumb to DS of chest and moves forward in an upward arc.

Spain (España)

(1) [X] touches shoulder blade, moves so that FO is away from signer, closes to [T], and touches shoulder blade again.1 (< matador's cape.) For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see ASL browser - Spain. (2) [N] touches shoulder blade with palm side, then twists and touches shoulder blade again with thumb side.1 (< matador's cape.)

Switzerland (die Schweiz, Suisse)

(1) [A dot] runs FT down chest, then across chest > DS with a flourish upwards.1 (< cross on flag.) (2) [G] runs FT down heart, then across heart > DS. For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see NEEDS Outreach: Switzerland. (< cross on flag.)

The United Kingdom (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

U-K in British fingerspelling2&3, that is, [1] touches pinky of [5], PO > DS, FO up, then knuckle of [X], PO > signer, touches index finger of [1], PO > DS, FO up. To see a discussion of the differences between "Britain", "England", and "the United Kingdom", go to Indigenous signs: United Kingdom and see "Webmaster's note."
Britain (Great Britain)
(1) (2h)[5], POs down, FOs away, are held at waist level and move up and down. For an animated gif of this sign, see BristishSignLanguage.com - Britain. (2) G-B in British fingerspelling2, that is, (2h)[S], DH strikes NDH on thumb side from above with little finger side.
England (England)
(2h)[1], POs > signer, but forming right angles so that FTs can point outward diagonally. DH slides its index finger along NDH's index several times.4 (< the index finger is an "E" in British fingerspelling.) For an animated gif of this sign, see BritishSignLanguage.com - England. Please note: The sign [bC] or [bC dot], PO towards, FO > NDS, strikes chin is not used in BSL. This is sometimes shown as such, but in error.2
Scotland (Alba)
[S] arm is held with elbow at side with fist close to chest and arm squeezes against chest 2x as if playing bagpipes.4 (< bagpipes.) For an animated gif of this sign, see BritishSignLanguage.com - Scotland.
Wales (Cymru)
(1) [W:], PO > NDS, FO up, is held on DS and descends slightly. For an animated gif of this sign, see BritishSignLanguage.com - Wales. (2) [W], PO away, FO up, is held on NDS and descends slightly while bending FT.4 (3) [W], PO > signer, touches chin at FTs and moves away from signer.1
Northern Ireland (Ulster)
(1) [Bb], PO > NDS, FO up, moves upwards + [V:], PO down, FO away, taps on [S], PO down, FO away.4 (< BSL modulated sign for NORTH and POTATO.) (2) [Bb], PO > NDS, FO up, moves upwards + [3:], PO down, FO away, circles above [S], PO down, FO > DS, and lands.5 (< BSL modulated sign for NORTH and POTATO.) (3) N-I in British fingerspelling, that is, [H] slaps underside of FT against upturned palm + index finger touches middle finger of [open 8]. (4) [Bb], PO > NDS, FO up, moves upwards + [8] held at shoulder blade moves away slightly and flicks up to [open 8] several times.5 (< BSL modulated sign for NORTH and SHAMROCK. The older version of this signs had the handshape change from [O] to [W], which makes more sense in terms of the shape of a shamrock. Some Northern Irish don't like the sign because they say it looks like you're "flicking away fleas", but it has not been generally rejected.)