Sign names are a unique aspect of the hearing impaired or deaf culture, as they are a short and quick way to recognize someone by name. As those who are hearing impaired use sign language, often one of the first words they learn is their own name. American Sign Language ASL is the primary language used in the deaf community throughout the United States and is learned by the hearing impaired as well as those who wish to communicate with them. The sign language alphabet consists of using the fingers to manually spell out each letter of the alphabet. Many in the hearing community want to know how to learn sign language so they can communicate with hearing impaired friends, and they often begin with the alphabet. A sign language dictionary takes the novice student from finger spelling words to using one sign for a single word. This is how it works with sign names. With a sign name, someone is recognized by a quick word, or symbol, rather than needing to finger spell all the letters of his or her name.
Those in the hearing community that want to know how to learn sign language will find that the best teacher is someone hearing impaired. Sign names are not created by the hearing individual, but are given to him or her by someone from the deaf community. Knowledge of the sign language alphabet is still the basic tool for those learning the language, but a sign name will ensure that you are easily recognized. The sign name will be a word that is commonly found in ASL, however, you will want to ensure that the name is based upon a pleasant rather than negative characteristic.
As those who use sign language will give you a sign name, it is often due to a trait or feature that you have. A hearing teacher who works with deaf children, who is known for a friendly disposition, may be referred to as happy, smiles, or sunshine. Someone who has a downbeat trait or feature may be given a negative name, especially if it is children who are bestowing the honor, so it is important to have deaf friends that are looking out for you. An ASL dictionary will have the image of any sign name given, and you can easily learn how to sign it. Those who want to know how to learn sign language will find that dictionaries, videos, tutorials, and communicating with members of the hearing impaired community are most effective.
Sign language is the basic building block for the hearing-impaired community. It is the tool used for communication as well as developing literacy. Though the sign language alphabet can help someone new to the community to spell out words they are unsure of, it is time consuming and laborious. By using a sign language dictionary, you can familiarize yourself with signs that are easier to perform, understand, and those that express greater emotion. As you become a member of the deaf community and gain acceptance, it will not be long before you are given your own, unique sign name as well.