American Sign Language: "Wyoming"
The sign for Wyoming is generally done by quickly spelling the
I was at a Deaf gathering and a beginning-level interpreter asked
the group how to sign "Wyoming." A couple of people showed her
a sign that starts by holding two "W" hands near each other with the
tips of the index fingers touching or almost touching and then the
hands moving out to the sides a few inches while spelling the
letters WYO - ending in the "O" handshape. The concept
behind that version has to do with the idea that "Wyoming" has lots
of mountain ranges. It is a cute sign version and is certainly
in use by quite a few people BUT another Deaf person at the
gathering was VERY adamant (forcefully insistent) that the "right"
sign for Wyoming is to spell "WYO" using a quick, snappy movement.
While I don't agree with making claims that any particular sign is
"THE" right sign, I do think that the spelled version is more
efficient and does the job very well. Plus, any time people
start discussing the sign for a particular region or state -- I
start getting a rather strong desire to fly there and interview a
dozen local Deaf natives to see how the locals sign it.
- Dr. Bill
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