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COMMUNICATION: The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "communication"


The sign for "communication" uses "C" handshapes. Alternate moving the "C" hands forward and backward from near the mouth:

COMMUNICATE / communication


COMMUNICATION (video clip)


If you wanted to discuss a COMMUNICATION BREAK-DOWN you could sign:



"COMMUNICATION / COMMUNICATE" is an initialized version of the sign "talking with."

INTERVIEW:  If you initialize the sign "TALK-WITH" by using "I" hands instead of "index fingers" the sign will mean "interview."



Question: An ASL student (Annie Harrison) in a public YouTube comment asked:
If you said "My mom works in communications," would you just use the sign for communicate? As in communications in local government.

Well, let's be honest here: Telling someone that your mom works in communications probably doesn't do much to improve their understanding of what you mom does. That goes for both Hearing English speakers and particularly so for the Deaf. I state that as someone who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in "Communication" from Weber State University. (My doctorate was in Deaf Education but I'll always be grateful for my undergraduate work in Communication.)

If for some reason you feel that word "communications" is really important to convey to your conversation partner or audience then sure, go ahead and sign COMMUNICATE and if the exact spelling is important you can fingerspell "communications" (while really emphasizing the "S") -- but realize that to most people that means nothing since most people don't know the differences between "communicate" and "communications."

"Communications" has more to do with the systems, technology, media, and tactics involved with communicating with the masses (or individuals in targeted groups) to achieve specific business or societal goals.

"Communications" is a nebulous (cloudy or hazy) term to most people.
(Note: The CAPS below are not yelling -- they are ASL gloss).

So, sure, feel free to use the sign "COMMUNICATE" in the context of "MY MOM LINE--OF-WORK COMMUNICATE. SHE ... (and then list off some of her specific duties)."


For "LINE-OF-WORK" see: 

(MAJOR [academic] / main / discipline / field / line of work / career)

I can tell you that as someone who has worked in university settings for 30 years the sign COMMUNICATE is routinely used by interpreters and Deaf academics to refer to "communications," "the Communication Department" or "She is majoring in Communication."

It is also fairly common to see the folks at NAD (National Association of the Deaf) and others use the sign COMMUNICATE when expanding the acronym FCC as "Federal Communications Commission."


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