Indigenous signs for countries in the Middle East

national flags national flags national flags David Bar-Tzurnational flags national flagsnational flags

map of the Middle East

Flags: World flag database.
Map: - "search" for country, then "Digital Map Graphics").

For a quick, interesting resource for facts about this and other countries,
try Mystic Planet - The New Age directory of Planet Earth.

Explanation of glossing system used
(to understand how I describe the signs in this dictionary)

Afghanistan (Afghanestan)
(1) [V] knocks the gathered fingers against the DS of the head. (2) (2h)[5:], POs > signer, FOs up, DH taps on NDH palm. (3) DH [A], PO out, circles out around DS ear 2x then becomes [5], PO > head.3 (4) [V], PO away, FO up, touch forehead with dorsal side of hand.4

Iran (indigenous name)
[A dot] taps thumb 2x against palm of [B].1 (< indigenous sign for "gasoline.") For a QuickTime movie of this sign, see ASL browser - Iran.

Iraq (indigenous name)
[L:] held at chin so that FTs touch either side just below mouth.1 I have been told that this sign should actually descend.

Israel (indigenous name for Israel)
(1) [H] touches chin, then moves down and arcs away until it is PO down and FO away from signer.1 (2) [5^] strokes chin just like ASL sign for "Jewish".2 (< from Jewish custom of not shaving the beard.)

Jordan (indigenous name)
[L], FO up, touches thumb to forehead.1

Kuwait (indigenous name)
(1) [X], PO > NDS touches nose below bridge.1 (2) (2h)[H], POs ><, FOs away, DH slices back across NDH FT.

Lebanon (indigenous name)
(1) (2h)[5], POs ><, FOs up, touch FTs and separate while closing to (2h)[O^], move down while repeating 2x.1 (< cedar tree on flag.) (2) DH [S], PO up, is held next to [B], PO > DS, FO away from signer. DH opens to [5] 2x.1

Pakistan (Pakistan)
(2h)[5], POs away, FOs up, put thumbs behind ears.4 (< listening for call to prayer)

Palestine (indigenous name)
[5], PO > signer, travels down face while closing to an [S] at chin.1 [< mask of terrorists(?).]

Qatar (indigenous name)
[2], PO > NDS, FO away from signer, shakes downwards at wrist 2x.1

Saudi Arabia (indigenous name)
(1) [B^] wraps turban around head.1 (< turban.) (2) [A], PO > signer, is drawn across mouth. (< veil drawn across face.)2

Syria (indigenous name)
(1) [W], PO > signer, touches FTs to palm of [B], PO > DS, FO away from signer.1 (2) [W], PO down, touches FTs to palm of [B], PO > DS, FO up.1 (< "W" is actually the Arabic letter "sin", the first letter in "Syria".)

Turkey (Türkiye)
(1) [bC] circles forehead.1 (2) [bC] moves up and down at forehead.1 (< crescent moon on flag.)

Yemen (indigenous name)
(2h)[O^] rub thumbs across FTs while moving down side of head.1 (< payoth, or sidecurls that are worn by very religious Jews.)

List of sources cited

1. Signs around the world: Countries [Videotape]. Burtonsville, MD: Sign Media.
2. Savir, C. (ed.) (1992). Gateway to Israeli Sign Language. Tel Aviv: The Association of the Deaf in Israel.
3. Martin Hiraga, CI/CT, personal communication to Bryan Rowe, reported February 25, 2002.
4. From a handout I was given that included indigenous signs I have seen in other reference works, so it seems properly researched.