To do the sign for "Canada" thump (lightly) on your upper right chest area twice with the
palm-side of your right hand. (Unless you are left handed, in which case the
location is on the left side of the chest.)
Memory aid: The Canadian Mounted Police always get their man.
The sign probably originated from the idea of a Mountie grabbing somebody's shirt.
(Remember, you don't actually grab the shirt--just tap twice with the "A"
In a message dated 8/18/2005 11:23:50 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
I want to ask about the sign for Canada. I've been watching our
government channel (CPAC) where they have an ASL interpreter
translating the question period and it seems we have a very
different sign for Canada up here in ... well... Canada. I know
that the signs in ASL for various countries may vary from how it is
signed in that country but I'm very surprised that, with Canada so
close geographically, that we didn't end up having a common sign for
Canada. The sign I keep
seeing on TV looks like the opposite motion of the sign 'day', with
the right arm sweeping up instead of down and it is initialized,
with the right hand forming the letter 'C'. Have you seen this?
Would it be labeled as signed English because of the
initialization? Thanks again for sharing.
Thanks for sharing that variation of the sign for Canada. It
seems to me that somewhere in the recesses of my brain I can recall
having seen that sign once. But then, I don't watch much
Canadian TV. I wouldn't label something as Signed English just
because it is "initialized." Many people have that reaction,
but if every initialized sign were eliminated we would lose many very
common ASL signs like "FAMILY," "UNCLE," and "AUNT." If I happen to come across a
sign for Canada or find out more information on signs for Canada
done by Deaf Canadians I'll post it to my website under "Canada."
In a message dated 2/12/2006 10:29:24 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, alaidh@
I'm commenting on the post by Aylene Gracie on your site regarding the
sign for Canada. I'm not sure what she is seeing, but the only sign
used for Canada is the one you have pictured, though we don't grab the
shirt at all. The interpretation on CPAC is LSQ - Langue des Signes
Québécoise - and not ASL but, as far as I know, the sign for Canada is
the same. I'm a sign language interpreter and have worked with Deaf
people for approximately 20 years and this is the only sign I've ever
seen for Canada.
Thanks for the note. Heh, you are right...in everyday
conversation the sign "Canada" doesn't "grab" the
shirt. What a fascinating example of "motherese / teacher talk" in
action. When teaching Hearing students, we ASL teachers often
over-emphasize our signs to help the students recognize the salient
features and or to function as a mnemonic device (memory helper) to
sink it in.
The phrase "The Canadian Mounted Police always get their man" comes to
mind. The grabbing of the shirt is iconic of the "Mountie" grabbing the
That is sort of like when ASL teachers show the signs Monday, Tuesday,
Wednesday, etc. "palm forward" to their hearing classes, but do
palm up/back when chatting with their Deaf friends.
Now I'll have to put that on my to do list to go back and redo that
In a message dated 4/30/2012 6:38:42 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,Bianca
I'm from Quebec, Canada, where both ASL and LSQ (Quebec Sign Language) are
used. I just want to reaffirm that the sign Aylene mentioned ("opposite
motion of the sign 'day', with the right arm sweeping up instead of down and
it is initialized, with the right hand forming the letter 'C'")[palm
forward] is indeed the LSQ version of Canada. ASL has the same sign, but it
is used to refer to the Montreal Canadians (our hockey team).