There is an interesting initiative to include name calling or swear signs in the SLN lessons for parents of Deaf kids was organised by a group of parents of Deaf kids. According to their leaflet (in Dutch) they will be treating the following signs in the first lesson: klootzak (dysphemism for scrotum), idioot (idiot), and sukkel (idiot/loser).

See posts on and FOK (with many comments).

It made me wonder how much of the vulgar Dutch emblems are part of the SLN lexicon. In fact, I am quite curious in general about the relation between signs and a host culture’s emblems (which according to Ekman & Friesen (1969) and Morris et al. (1979) are a recognizable set of symbolic gestures with a conventionalized meaning in a culture that can be used to substitute words or parts of speech. Kendon (1984, 1992) calls them ‘quotable gestures’).

I will check the set of 20 key gestures from Morris et al. (1979) against an SLN dictionary (Standaard Lexicon NGT, deel 1+2, NGC, 2002) to see which of those 20 emblems are also SLN signs. It should be noted that according to Morris et al. only 12 of the gestures are commonly known in the Netherlands, which I checked with ‘Het Gebarenboekje’ by Andrea & De Boer (1993) to see if they concurred, which by and large they did.

One gesture is at least a well known SLN sign: the Fig.

The Fig
Do you know what it means in the Netherlands and in SLN? (Source: Morris et al. 1979)