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Plains Hand Talk (Plains Indian Sign Language - PISL) Top 200 Signs
200 of the most commonly used signs in Plains Hand Talk (currently in the process of adding terms, in batches of 10).
Terms in this set (31)
(meaning: bowing the head and body). Hold right hand, back to right, in front of right breast, height of shoulder, index extended and pointing upwards, other fingers nearly closed, thumb resting on side of second finger; move the hand slightly to left and a little downwards, at same time closing index over thumb.
Hold extended flat right hand, back up, in front of body, fingers pointing to left and front; swing the hand to right and front while turning hand so that thumb is up and back downwards, then return to first position.
(meaning: level with the heart). Hold the flat right hand, back up, in front of and close to left breast, pointing to left; move hand briskly well out to front and to right, keeping it in a horizontal plane.
(meaning: thrown away). Hold right fist near breast Throw it out and down to right, and while doing so open the hand.
Extend right 1 hand then sweep same toward face.
Hold flat right hand in front of body, back to right, pointing front and downwards; move hand to front, and by wrist action, raise ringers to front and upwards.
(meaning: drinking out of palm of hand). Hold the cupped right hand, back down, in front of and little above mouth; fingers pointing to left and upwards; then move hand downwards, turning palm towards mouth. At end of RIVER or LAKE some Indians make the sign of dipping a handful of water with right cupped hand, held waist high.
With nearly compressed right hand, pass tips of fingers in curve downward past mouth two or three times by wrist action. Add location of sun in the sky to indicate breakfast, dinner or supper. (Modern).
(meaning: drinking from the curved right hand). With fingers tight together partly compress the right hand as though to form a cup; carry to mouth from above downwards, as though drinking water.
Bring right 2 hand to opposite eyes, and the two fingers should point in the direction one is looking.
Point upward with right index.
Point downwards with right index finger.
Hold right flat hand, back up, in front of right shoulder; then raise or lower to height desired to be shown.
Hold right flat hand, back up, towards the ground at height desired.
Move right flat hand in horizontal circle from right to left, breast high.
Point right thumb at breast.
Point right 1 hand at person addressed.
Point right index at person indicated.
Make the signs for I or ME and ALL.
Make the signs for YOU and ALL.
Make the signs for HIM/HER and ALL.
(meaning: motion of feet). For a person, hold flat hands in front of body
equally advanced; move right to front, upwards and downwards describing^ an oval circle; move left to front in same way; as left is brought down draw right hand to rear and repeat first motion, thereby alternating the motions of the feet. For an animal, close the hands and make same motions as above.
Make the sign for WALK and for FAST [(meaning: pass by). Hold left flat hand in front of body, back to left; then hold right flat hand, back to right, six inches to rear of left. Make right hand go swiftly past left in a curve very slightly downwards and then upwards].
Lower the extended flat hands with a sweep into following position: left hand in front of right breast pointing to right, right hand six inches to right of left, pointing to front and right; then incline head to right.
If referring to an animal, indicate the height. For small quantity of anything make the sign for FEW. For LITTLE, hold right hand at height of shoulder, back to right, end of thumb pressing against inner surface of index, so that only the end of index is seen beyond the thumb nail.
(meaning: compressed). Hold partly closed hands in front of body, palms towards each other, lower edges pointing to front, hands opposite, but heel of right hand height of index of left, and eight inches apart; move right hand to left, left to right until right is over left.
Bring compressed 5 hands in front of body, close together, palms in, fingers extended flat, upright, pointing to front, separate the hands bringing them apart, but keeping them opposite each other.
BUY or SELL
Make sign for MONEY [Hold right hand, back to right, well out in front of right breast, index and thumb curved, forming an incomplete circle, space half inch between tips, other fingers closed] and for EXCHANGE [Hold up 1 hands; then in semi-circle strike them past each other].
EXCHANGE or TRADE
Hold up 1 hands; then in semi-circle strike them past each other.
Hold flat right hand palm outward, in front of body, height of shoulders; move hand sharply to front and downwards, stopping it suddenly. Some Indians raise the hand higher for emphasis.
Make sign for STOP, but more gently and not stopping abruptly. Repeat gesture.
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