Here’s the Etiquette for American Sign Language!


Most people are following social etiquettes well in their daily communication. However, when it comes to ASL (American Sign Language), the etiquettes to follow can be quite different. Here are some etiquettes that are important but easy to neglect in sign language:


  • How large the signs should be may differ across different situations.
    Some beginners make big signs as they think it may be easier for others to tell what they are expressing. However, bigger signs are like speaking in a large volume. In scenarios people don’t wish to draw attention from other people nearby, it may be inappropriate to make big signs.
  • How people are dressed matters more in signing language.
    In the world of signing language, people should care more about how they are dressed, as clothing can be highly distracting in a signing conversation. Many hand movements can be misinterpreted if the clothing is distracting. In general, people with darker skin color should be in clothes with lighter color; people with lighter skin color should be in clothes with darker color. Furthermore, there shouldn’t be complicated patterns or mixed colors. Dressing in an appropriate way can make it easy for others to understand you in a signing conversation.
  • Etiquettes to pay attention to when you start and end a conversation.
    When you want to draw attention from someone using sign language, you shouldn’t just move your hands in front of them. You should tap the shoulder to get their attention. When the conversation is over, it’s polite to hug the other person, even if you are not very close.


Deaf culture has its own etiquettes, some of which may be quite different from those followed by people communicating with verbal languages. At Alliance Business Solutions, besides having proficient ASL skills, our linguists are well trained in ASL etiquettes, ensuring that our clients can be truly respected, and the communication can be effective and pleasant for everyone in presence.

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