Now that we are still under the topic of sign language, let me explain further to you the difference between American Sign Language and Filipino Sign Language as regards the fingerspelling handshapes.
I have already shown this image in my previous blog post. But this time, I would like to elaborate more on how each letter came about from the viewpoint of a Filipino.
According to a first known study analyzing ethnic differences in the hand-spans of pianists, Caucasian male spans are 0.3 inches larger than those of Asian males. Also in this survey, Caucasian female spans are 0.2 inches greater than those of their Asian counterparts.
Based on this study, Asians genetically have smaller hands compared to Americans. This also holds true as regards differences in height and build. So, since a Filipino hand is slightly smaller, touching all fingers on top of the thumb would not be clearly distinguished when viewed from at least ten feet away. The hand would be mistaken from the letter “O” which also touches the thumb. The solution would be detaching all the fingers from the thumb in order to distinctly see the letter E.
Again, this is also a genetic difference. Unless the reader sees the tip of the thumb protruding above the index finger, it’s difficult to distinguish the letter “G” from a hand pointing to the right.
So, to solve this “small” problem, Filipino deaf sticks out his thumb to show the letter “G”.
Now this one involves culture. A thumb (male penis) sticking out between two fingers (female vagina) symbolizes sexual intercourse. Everybody in my country understands this hand sign all too well. This was also a “secret” street sign in the old flourishing flesh trade when the American Naval and Air Force Bases are still occupying our land. A pimp would just discreetly motion this hand to the soldiers if they want to hire a hooker.
So, if you are a Filipino deaf, would you want to wave your hand using the ASL “T”? Unless you are referring to the “actual thing”, then go ahead! Hehehe
* – Some images posted here were copyright by their respective owners.