Home > Deaf Thoughts > ASL in “Star Spangled Banner”

ASL in “Star Spangled Banner”

August 23, 2007

from http://bookwritegirl.wordpress.com/2007/05/23/asl-national-anthem/

I found a book at the library, called “1000 Signs of Life” by the editors of Gallaudet University Press, and it has a translation/gloss of the “Star Spangled Banner”. Keep in mind this is only one translation; you may see slight variations, but seeing as this book is from Gallaudet, it should be legit! 🙂 Glossing ASL requires it all to be in capitals, so I’m not yelling. 😉

QUESTION, YOU EXPERT SEE—–Oh say, can you see

SUNRISE BRIGHT—–by the dawn’s early light,

THAT REAL PROUD WE HONOR—–What so proudly we hailed

CONTINUE SUNSET FADE—-at the twilight’s last gleeming?

RED WHITE STRIPES STAR SPECKLE—–Whose broad stripes and bright stars,

THROUGH BATTLE AWFUL—–through the perilous fight

STAND BRIDGE WE WATCHING—–O’er the ramparts we watched,

WOW BRAVE FLAG-WAVING—-were so gallantly streaming?

HEY, CANNON RED ROCKET—–And the rockets’ red glare

EXPLODE, EXPLODE IN AIR-SKY—-the bombs bursting in the air

THROUGH ALL-NIGHT PROOF—–Gave proof through the night

OUR FLAG WAS STILL THERE!——That our flag was still there.

OH, QUESTION, OUR STAR SPECKLE FLAG STILL WAVE——O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

OVER LAND FREE—-O’er the land of the free

HOME THEIR BRAVE?—–And the home of the brave?

Categories: Deaf Thoughts
  1. August 23, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    Awesome! I’ve always wanted to know how to sign this. I followed along and it looks great! Thanks for sharing this “cheat-sheet” with us!

    ~ LaRonda

  2. August 24, 2007 at 10:36 pm


  3. August 25, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    very interesting! thanks for posting.

  4. December 5, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    I’m only 13 and taking a college sign language class, and I’m using this as my final. This was a lot of help!

  5. Vern
    January 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Thx I am signing this very soon Thx Again for othe Help

  6. Kristina
    August 12, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks! I am signing this for our local fair and this is a big help! I cant wait to use it!

  7. February 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Does this not keep the hearing and the deaf eternally separated if the song is not signed to its words ?! I have a dream that when this song is sung the Deaf and the Hearing will sing and sign the same words this will allow the Deaf to understand the Hearing and the hearing to understand the Deaf … if in every instance it is changed to suit one or the other there is no bridge to the understanding especially of music the beats as it relates to the words. My Father in Law is Deaf and enjoys the Beats of Music I have introduced him to the words that accompany those heartfelt beats and he now at 89 years of age has a new appreciation for MUSIC please view our ministry and feel free to leave constructive comments. If it is too fast you can always drag the bar to slow it down to understand every word. God Bless and keep you Always in All Ways. “He who has an ear .. Let Him HEAR” (not he who has hearing !!HE WHO HAS AN EAR !!)

  8. Sarah
    February 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

    english and ASL have entirely different grammar structures, so “signed English” is not ASL. that is why you do not sign word for word, because that is not ASL structure.

  9. March 23, 2010 at 9:14 am

    No offense, but the hearing and the Deaf are separate. Many hearing people do not want to take the time to communicate with the Deaf people. Deaf people do not hear music the same way the hearing do. Music is a hearing thing, ASL is a Deaf thing. Each group has their own language. So do we force the Spanish-Americans, French-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans all to sing the Pledge in American? Sometimes, it just works better in that person’s language. Sometimes the way one expresses themselves in music, their own language, just touches a bit deeper. But do you notice, all of those are spoken languages?

    Whilst the Bible says “He who has an ear, let him HEAR” does this mean you are to criticize God for making the Deaf populace? Hmm.

    Or would you prefer to look down on the Deaf because they cannot hear so someone must have committed some horrid sin because the Deaf do not hear? So it is a punishment?
    “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them” (Proverbs 20:12)

    Ears are not the only way to “hear” things. I “hear” just fine with my eyes and my heart. Sometimes if people would just stop talking, look around and listen, they might actually “hear” God talking to them….since God doesn’t come down and tap one on the shoulder and share His lifelong plan, this would mean you have to listen with your heart, NOT your ears.

    Taking bits and pieces of the Bible to fit one’s point is not always a wise thing. Take it as a whole. God wasn’t condemning Deafness by saying “Let him HEAR”. He was upset people were not LISTENING!

    Proverbs 18:2, “A fool does not delight in understanding (which comes by hearing), But only in revealing his own mind.” See, I can do it too….I can take parts and pieces. So does this mean a fool is a hearing person? I think not, but it fits here to establish my point.

  10. excalibar
    November 11, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Lynnette, “signing” the song at the same time as the words would not mean the same thing in ASL. Like Sarah said, they have different grammatical structures. It’s more important that the meaning is the same.

    I think the two ladies did an excellent job staying within the confines of the English song to convey the ASL meaning.

    There was also some reference to the Bible passage about hearing. I’ve always believed, and reflect this in my church interpreting, that the word “hear” means to understand, or “been exposed to.” God certainly was not excluding any person.

  11. Anonymous
    May 7, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Sure- and lets force the whole world to speak English too, because their language differences are irrelevant too, right?

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