Hand gestures are a big part of verbal speaking.
They also make up the majority of sign language. Since there are thousands of gestures that make up sign language, there are bound to be used in the wrong context by people who do not understand it.
Redditor u/ asked people who do understand ASL (and other sign language dialects) about gestures they see people unknowingly using, and sometimes the results are hilarious.
10. Gestures everyone makes
"Every time you make a thumbs up, you're saying the number 10. Every time you do the OK sign, you're saying the number 9. Every time you cross your fingers, it's the letter R."
9. Finger guns are not just guns
"BSL user here! You should know that whenever you do a double handed finger gun, you're dangerously close to saying 'anal sex'"
8. Wrong cheer
"Vagina. It always makes me giggle a bit."
"This happens a lot in Oregon. The University of Oregon's sports fans have a lot of spirit, and they like to put their hands together in an 'O' and cheer. Unfortunately, many of them put their hands together in the wrong way and you have half a stadium signing 'vagina' and shouting an extended 'oh' in excitement."
7. Stupid selfies
"There was a fad a few years ago where people did peace signs on their foreheads in selfies — that means 'stupid' in ASL."
6. A simple point
"The most common one I see people do inadvertently is there and here - I think because it's so common to just point and something and say 'it's over there'"
5. Confusing numbersGiphy
"The sign for the number 6. When you are trying to indicate 3 by Holding 3 fingers up with the pointer, middle and ring finger, you are saying 6 in sign language. The number 3 is pointer, middle and thumb."
4. No one wants to talk about school
"(ASL) Every time people clap they're unintentionally signing 'school.'"
3. NSFW mistakes
"I know this dude that would absent mindedly hit the top of his fist with the bottom of the other.
What he didn't know is that this is the sign for 'masturbate'."
2. Thank you for the correction!
"I was learning sign and met a lot of deaf people during that time.
I thought I signed 'nice to meet you,' but apparently signed 'nice to **** you.'
The man was very nice when he corrected me, but joked that he didn't think my husband would appreciate that very much!"
1. The kids did their bestGiphy
"A while back there was a little kids choir, (completely forgot why I saw it) and they were singing several songs (mostly things like nursery rhymes) and would 'sign' along to the lyrics.
When they were singing 'twinkle twinkle little star' they all simultaneously had been told to make the shape of a star instead of doing the actual sign. The 'star shapes' turned out to be what's equivalent to a...vagina... in sign language lmao.
It's not like the instructor (who knew a bit of ASL) was able to explain what they were actually signing, they were literally preschoolers/kindergarteners"
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