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BeccaTheBrave

Name Signs

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Hi! I'm an ASL 4 student in college. I have learned a lot about the cultural rules behind name signs (be they arbitrary or descriptive) but amazingly, even thou I have had four semesters of asl, I have never been given a sign name. I understand that a name sign should be given to you by a deaf person, but my professors and the people I have met at events have never given me one. I don't want to come across as rude so I want to know as much about this subject as possible. So I have a question... Is it considered rude in deaf culture to flat out ask someone to give you a name sign? Is it better to continue to wait to be given one or would it be ok if I asked for one from my professor? (I say my professor because he's more familiar with me so if I were to get a name sign, it makes more sense coming from him rather than someone else). 

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I've been told that a hearing person should never ask for a name sign.  It's rude.  My understanding is that when you have immersed yourself enough in the Deaf community they will decided when it's time to give you a name sign.  And honestly, I would bet it comes from annoyance.  I imagine if you are enough of a part of the local Deaf community that Deaf people will get sick of FS your name and they'll give you a name sign out of personal convenience.

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I have been in ASL for two semesters at college however I have greatly immersed myself into the deaf community. Every professor or deaf person I have met thus far has told me that its completely okay to ask for a name sign and if the deaf person doesn't want to give you a name sign they will decline. I actually received a name sign from someone who didn't really know me too well so when I was more into the community I asked one of the deaf people I knew if they'd give me a different name sign and they happily obliged. I think being hearing poses awkward situations because some things that deaf people do aren't considered rude in their culture even though it may seem rude to us. 

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Hey Becca!  I know you posted this a long time ago, but I figured I’d give my two cents.  In my experience with name signs, it’s not rude to express interest in getting one, but offputting to straight out ask for one.  My Deaf friends have straight out told me that it’s doubtful they’ll give me a name sign purely because it’s easy to fingerspell.  But that topic only came up because I had mentioned another friends name sign.  

My advice if you want a name sign: get to know more Deaf folk on a personal level, and they’ll be more than glad to give you one if you want it.

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