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American Sign Language "I love you" sign:


ILY "I love you" ASL handshape (version) 2007 Adapted from Gallaudet Type Font
The Gallaudet font is copyright (c) 1991 by David Rakowski. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.



In a message dated 7/20/2005 4:01:24 AM Pacific Daylight Time, susan_paynter@ writes:
Hello Dr Vicars I am a mature student currently learning Stage 2 Bsl I also
do Vaulantry work with Deaf Blind UK as in Telephone support and Pen friend
I wonder if you could help me please. My pen friend is Deaf Blind and lives
in UK she has an American Pen Friend her friend sent a Gold Badge that come
out in America for School Children to be aware of sign Language as my friend
and the friend in America are both Deaf Blind nobody Knows what the sign
means. As they don't sign I have looked at your site on the net but the
sings I thought It would mean its not. And some of the signs in Uk are
different . Our sign classes are on Summer vacation at the moment so I can't
ask there either.
Thank you for your time I hope you can Help me help my Friends Susan Paynter
Are you saying that there is a picture of a "signed" word on the gold badge?
And you want to know what that sign means?
If so, what does the picture look like?  Could you send me a photo scan of the picture or maybe describe it to me so I can tell you what the sign means?
Dr. Bill
In a message dated 7/20/2005 12:21:38 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Thank you very much for answering my Email I understand the School Children
in Colorado Spring All got one to help with deaf awareness then they went in
the shops for people to buy It is a gold Badge hope this picture helps
thanks susan.
That handsign is an acronym standing for "I Love You."  It is a combination of the ASL fingerspelled letters "I," "L," and "Y."  It is called the ILY sign.  The typed letters "ILY " are often used as a valediction (farewell statement) in romantic emails, IMs, (instant messages) TTY (teletype) conversations, and other text-based correspondence.
Dr. Bill

In a message dated 7/20/2005 3:30:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
Thanks a Million for your help god bless susan

Also see:  LOVE

Also see:  ILY Wallpaper page:
Sign Language I Love You


In a message dated 10/7/2007 2:33:48 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, monk.289 writes:
  Hey, my name is Harris, and I was wondering if you could help me out with something.  I'm an extremely brand new signer who is finding your website extremely helpful.  I recently met a girl who was deaf, and it frustrated me how difficult it was to communicate with her, and so I started teaching myself to sign.  I only meet people who can sign on an infrequent basis, so I don't get much practice learning to sign and extremely little practice on how to read signing (although your videos on your site are a very big help).  However, there is one thing on your website that confused me, and that's the sign for Love.  The deaf people I meet tell me that the two handed love sign (where it looks like your hugging yourself) is way old and almost obsolete, while the ILY sign is now used to represent love.  Is it just a localized thing, or is the new way to sign love? I'd appreciate anybody who knows to help me out.
The one handed sign (ILY) is an acronym that means I love you.
Thus it is not the same as the sign "LOVE (crossed arms version)."
The ILY sign is less formal than the crossed arms LOVE sign.
The LOVE sign may be old, but I do believe it is a solid and well entrenched sign--thus it will continue to be used well into the future.
Dr. Bill



In a message dated 8/18/2011 10:57:35 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Ames writes:

Dr. Bill,
I have another question for you. Do the sign for ILY or "I love you." Then, cross your fingers (index and middler) at the same time. When I was a kid, someone told me that this means, "I love you very much!" but I've never seen anyone ever use this (except me, still believing this childhood myth). What do you say? Does such a sign actually exist? Does it mean what I think it means?
Take care,
~ Ames :0)

Dear Ames,
The version of ILY you mentioned (the one with the middle and index crossed) means "I Really Love You." It is a combination of the letters: I, R, L, and Y. As you've noticed, it is not used much in the Deaf Community. It is mostly just a "cute" or "amusing" bit of signing that we trot out at parties to amuse ourselves with as an example of how many different ways we can inflect the same sign.  For example, a fun version is to do the ILY sign and hold the hand steady and pointed upright as normal but rotate just the index finger (so that it looks like you drawing a small circle with the tip of the index finger).  By adding that movement of the index finger you are incorporating the sign "SINGLE/ONLY/SOMEONE/SOMETHING" into the ILY sign. Thus changing the sign to mean, "I love 'only' you!" 

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