A general way to refer to most body parts is to simply point at them or tap
them twice. When I sign "neck" or "throat" I just tap my neck with my
index finger once or twice.
THROAT or esophagus:
If I need to specify the part of the body down which food, water, and air
travels, I can use a "C" hand as a classifier to show the general shape and
distance of a throat. I start at the base and work up.
When I need to talk about a "throat" as an "area of the body" for
example, a person whom didn't put on sunscreen and now has a sunburned
throat--I would use the following sign. It means "the throat from here
If I had a sore throat I'd use a loose "G" handshape and move it down the
throat twice while using a pained expression.
Don't you feel sorry for me? (Note: Some people just spell S-O-R-E and
You might also see this sign used to mean "my throat hurts." Thus
is the sign for "pain/hurt" done near the throat.
Suppose someone is a "pain in the neck?" That would be shown by
using a single hand twisted into the side of the neck.
"He (or she) is a pain in the neck!"
The general sign for "swallow"
You might also see this sign done with a "flat hand."
When you add the tongue and open mouth that change into the closed mouth it
can be used to mean "gullible." The more you exaggerate the sign, the
more gullible the person. Memory aid: "to swallow a fish."
Here is a side view of "SWALLOW/gullible."
You can learn
American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars