A student asked me how to sign "Amish."
I suggested that she search "Youtube.com" to see if anything came up
for "Deaf" and Amish -- or ASL and Amish.
<< Dr. Bill
Well I’ve been watching
YouTube video’s for an hour and in all but one video “Amish” is
fingerspelled. In one of the video’s a young man uses an “a”
hand in front of chin (palm left) and double taps on chin with the
thumb (similar to “secret” but done a
- Laurie >>
I think it is safe to say that (at this time) in general the
concept of Amish is fingerspelled by most native Deaf Adults.
My wife and I both just spell it. None of my friends seem to
know of a specific sign for it.
However, I do think it interesting that there "is" a sign floating
around out there for "Amish" that is most likely an initialized sign
based (somewhat) on the sign for "BEARD."
In a message dated 6/27/2015 6:57:23 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Lyn
I read your discussion of the sign for "Amish."
This is from my very limited experience with the sign. For years I
was very close friends with an Old Order Amish family in Grabill,
Several of my Amish friends were Deaf. They told me that some people
use a sign for Amish that many (perhaps most?) Amish people consider
highly offensive. It is the sign that hearing people sometimes use
(or use to use) for 'twiddle one's thumbs.'
Since Amish people often start their days at 3:00 a.m. and work
until about 7:00 p.m. some of the activity being 'extremely hard
work' they do not consider that 'twiddle the thumbs' sign to be
appropriate or to accurately reflect their culture.
Nor did they like the sign for 'suffer/endure/tolerate' which is in
use in some parts of the US. They don't like that sign because they
do not feel that they 'suffer' in their lifestyle (most of them
cherish their way of life).
When I asked how they wanted
me to sign "Amish" they said "To show great respect to those in the
Amish culture, simply spell A-M-I-S-H. Or as the Amish sometimes
spell it: A-M-S-H.
When I stayed with my Amish friends i did everything alongside the
women - like get up at 2:30 AM (with a kerosene lantern) and go out
to the barn to milk the cows (by hand). Then collect eggs, then feed
the llamas and sheep and cows and other animals, then back to the
house to make home made noodles, home made breads and a HUGE meal
for the 'men folk' when they came home at the end of their very long
The men ate what most of us would call a FEAST seven evenings a week
(homemade butter, cream, pies, all kinds of meats etc.) and they
were all skinny (seriously) from all their work on the farm and in
the fields. I have some very wonderful memories of my time with them
and wow I miss them :)
Thanks for sharing your Amish adventures and advice! I
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