Sunday, January 18

An Open Letter to President Obama

An open letter in ASL to notify President Barack Obama of his name sign which was given by the Deaf community in USA.

Disclaimer: This is a final project for a course I took last Fall. Also I acknowledge that there are several name signs suggested for Obama and encourage you to look at other vlogs discussing name signs for you to determine which you prefer. For this video, I chose just one name sign that I felt comfortable and at ease to sign specifically for this video project.

In time for the inauguration, I decided to share my final project with the public and in hope that President Obama, being tech-savvy, will view this video and learn how to introduce himself with his newly-given name sign at the inauguration this Tuesday!

American Sign Language Only

American Sign Language and Subtitled in English


Deaf Pixie said...

Oh, I love it!!

Good sign for President Obama. Perfect names for his ASL names.

RLM said...


Dr. Lynn Jacobowski already discussed about the name sign for President-elect Barack Obama on her Facebook account last month.

Your name sign for Obama is little similar to the common deaf sign usage for Obama.

We use "arched" sign for O + arched flag stripes, not "B" hand shape.

I usually refer to Obama by his physical characteristics - Dumbo ear. I would sign "C" to the ear.

Obama acknowledged that the cartoonists will feature his significant physical characteristics - ears in his television interview few months ago. He chuckled about his ears being featured in political cartoons.

Robert L. Mason (RLM)

Kasey said...

Good Name Sign!

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

I like your suggestion for Obama's name-sign. I have forwarded the link for this blog to a number of my deaf and hearing friends.

Paul said...

Hello Kirsi:

Thanks for letting us know the sign name for Obama.

That looks good and it is perfect.


Paul =)

Jason said...

Is this used by many Deaf in the US? I'm an American living in Nairobi Kenya and I get asked by my Deaf friends all the time what our name sign is. I wasn't in the States when he became popular so I don't know.

Here in East Africa we don't use initials in name signs, but we shake an "o" to mean Obama. Too bad it looks a lot like ASL for nothing or no big deal.

RLM said...

Why my comment all gone from your comment forum?


gnarlydorkette said...

Re: your latest comment, "Why my comment all gone from your comment forum?"

The comments were set aside upon my request so I can moderate and approve to be published online.

Thank you for your patience...

LaRonda said...

Hi Gnarly!

What a wonderful vlog that was. So personal to Obama and the deaf community. Here in CA, we have been seeing a number of name signs for Obama. Signs that show hope", "inspiration," "presidency" etc.

I like that you have shown us one that is being used in DC. Most likely that will be the one we stay with.

Thanks for this vlog. You did a great job.

~ LaRonda

MM said...

Our (UK) sign forms are near all very negative and dismissive of all politicians. Personally I have NEVER seen a positive sign for one here, or a single politician given a sign name. Brits tend to treat all politicians with extreme suspicion and are very cynical, I think that's a very healthy attitude :)

Ben said...

Excellent video.

Well done.

IamMine said...

This is very inspiring, Kirsi - even if it was just a "class project".

I saw all the comments on YT... like you said, to each his/her own.

But I really like this sign - I usually either finger-spell or sign O - B, starting at the top with "O" and then dropping "B" before going upward a little bit. I copied from an American-African male vlogger last year or so. I forgot his username now. :(

From my perspective, this looks like a historic sign for a President from the Deaf Community.

I have NEVER seen so much interest generated in the Presidential campaigns/debates in the past - the internet has definitely been a powerful medium. :)

Have you created a personal DVD with personalization stamp on it and sent it to the White House?

I think this is a great letter in ASL and definitely would give President Obama some warm feelings from the Deaf Community. :)

Thanks for doing this, Kirsi!

Der Sankt said...


I actually cheered when I saw you sign Obama for the first time. So perfect, so beautiful.

True to ASL!

(still living in the same addy?? Would like to send you a couple pictures...)

Go Barack Obama!

behappy said...

to IamMINE

Obama Rally - look at a young interpreter who signed O-B name.

It is really nice that this african-american guy signed OB's name and Kristi signed the same. Neat!

So Cool!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say this, the new sign name for President Obama wasn't inspiritional for me. The sign name you used doesnt follow ASL rules, it has been broken. And you said Deaf Community has agreed to that new sign name. Have you research with everyone in each state about sign name? Only Washington DC? Sigh...

gnarlydorkette said...

Bren: ASL rules established by whom?
And I have put out a disclaimer that this was a class project and that I acknowledge that there are other name signs but I picked just one for my own class project. You are more than welcome to do an open letter yourself to President OBama to let him know what YOU prefer his name sign to be. :-)
Don't let me stop you.

mishkazena said...

An interesting sign! I love how you expanded on the sign and how it was developed.

About it violating the rules of ASL name signs, only the Deaf Community decides if it wants to keep the sign or not, not individuals. Time will tell if it becomes universal or not. However, I've seen this sign elsewhere, so it's already spreading.

deafutahhiker said...

We use that sign here in Utah. I think it's quite widespread than people would like to believe. Your vlog has been used as a linguistic glossing homework at my community college and all the students are raving about your video. Keep up the great work!