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American Sign Language: "Wyoming"

The sign for Wyoming is generally done by quickly spelling the letters WYO.

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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