Swearing in sign language

Swearing can be quite cathartic. I myself do not casually swear (though I do use the word ‘hell’ a lot) and never swear in anger at other people. But I cannot prevent the occasional “Oh, shit!” escaping from my lips when I do something stupid or careless or when some unfortunate event occurs. In the video below, we see how swearing is done in sign language for those who cannot verbalize it. It may also come in useful when the recipient can see you but cannot hear you. (Language advisory, obviously.)


  1. sonofrojblake says

    The film “Children of a Lesser God” taught me how to say “fuck you asshole” in American Sign Language thirty years ago. Marlee Matlin won an Oscar for it, her first film. Way to hit the ground running.

    A question arises, based on one of the most fascinating and odd things I know: it has been shown that swearing provably and repeatably reduces the experience of pain, but only in people who don’t swear a lot. I wonder if swearing in sign language can reduce the experience of pain for deaf people who don’t make those signs habitually?

  2. jrkrideau says

    You realize that every time someone waves his or her arms while talking to me, I’m now have to check to see if I’m being cursed or insulted.

    Oh lord, my paranoia has just blossomed.

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