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Words for Signing Songs

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Updated March 29, 2011

A common question that I get, or that is often posed to the forum, is "where do I get the signs for the words to this song? Or, "what about the pledge to the flag?" These questions are often asked by teachers and students in sign language classes or regular classes who need to learn the words for signing songs.

Patriotic Songs and Pledges

About.com visitors often want to know how to sign the Pledge of Allegiance, "Star Spangled Banner," and other patriotic songs. ASLonDVD.com has a DVD, "The Patriotic Spirit," with the Pledge of Allegiance and patriotic songs in ASL. Here are additional suggestions from About.com visitors:
"When I first started teaching, I found a poster with ABCs in fingerspelling that had the pledge on back of it. You may want to check out your local teacher supply stores."
-DAMISA
"I found the following site with the Pledge in sign -- The American Legion."
-About.com Visitor
In addition, the "Star Spangled Banner" is one of the patriotic songs on the aforementioned "The Patriotic Spirit" ASL DVD. More suggestions for learning to sign the "Star Spangled Banner" from About.com visitors:
"There are signing instructions in the book, Conversational Sign Language II (Pg 95-96), available from Gallaudet University Press. It is not possible to translate on a one word to one sign basis. Some of the words are shown or mimed. It is best if a native signer (deaf adult or fluent CODA) could show you."
-PEACE710
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"For 'twilight's [last gleaming],' sign the word 'evening' with your arm hanging out. Do not sign 'night.' It is like 'afternoon,' but your arm is hanging over your other hand in a waving position that looks like the reverse of 'morning.' Then, sign the apostrophe-S, meaning make an fingerspelled S and twist it as if you are making an apostrophe.

Sign 'last' using the sign for the word's sequence, not time phrase. That means taking your index finger and striking it against the pinky of the other hand. 'Gleaming' would properly be signed like 'shining' or 'sparkling,' whith both hands in the twenty-five sign and wiggling upward and outward. But the traditional way is to sign it with both five hands dimming down to an almost zero from outward down and inward. Like lights going out..but slowly.

As for 'gallantly,' the root sign brave and then '-ly' is used. 'Streaming' is signed by making the sign for 'flag,' but waving your hand rapidly as if the wind was blowing hard."
-SIGNER

"For 'twilight's last gleaming,' I use the sign for 'stars' and then the sign for 'dissolving,' or 'fading.'"
-About Visitor

Gospel Songs

"You might want to get some of the videos of Mark Mitchum singing. He also travels and does workshops. If you ever get a chance to go to one, it will be well worth it." -LISA_POOH
"One possibility is to attend Church Interpreter Training Institute (CITI), a month-long intensive course (a 2-week option is also available.) 'Interpreting Songs' is one of the subjects taught."
-PEACE710

Other options:

The Yahoo group Interpreting Spiritual Music is a storage bank of ASL interpretations of religious and spiritual songs. Also, the website Elijah.org has interpretations of religious songs.

Deaf Video Communications has a lending library of videos, including songs interpreted into ASL.

Children's Songs

"I've seen "Sign Me a Song." It was recommended by one of my children's teachers"
-ROBIN
  • Guide note: I believe the accurate title is "Sign Me a Story." This is a video with Linda Bove. It is available through deaf/hoh product vendors.
"You can order "Sign n' Sing for Fun," #8483 on free loan from the Described and Captioned Media Program."
-LESLIE
"The National Grange sells songbooks with words and signs for $1.00 each, plus postage. They have many patriotic and common songs, such as 'Kum Ba Ya' and 'Row Row Your Boat.' There are two song books available. The Grange also has a poster with The Pledge to the Flag available for free. Signs are almost Signed Exact English. There is also an alphabet chart available."
-About Visitor

Girl Scout Promise

The Summer 2003 issue of Leader Magazine from Girlscouts.org has an illustration of how to say the Girl Scout Promise in sign language.

More Signed Song Resources


FROM YOUR GUIDE

Do you know of any other resources for learning how to sign songs and pledges? Submit your recommended resouces.

Readers Respond: Using Sign Language in Relationships

Related Video
Signing with Children

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