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This Tweet is doing the rounds:

Hearing people are like joke-panicking about the fact that 2022 is pronounced “2020, too”. But like in ASL, 2022 loosely translates to “BIRD go PEACE-PEACE” and that’s honestly the energy I’m going into the new year with. Deaf people stay winning I guess. Smiling face with sunglasses
phelan • ᜉᜌᜎᜈ᜔; see my screenshot, 8 Jan 2022.

It is also doing the rounds on Facebook here, where some of the comments are skeptical, e.g. "This is really not accurate at all" (Jo Rothman).

Question: In American Sign Language, does 2022 loosely translate to "bird go peace-peace"?

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22

Not precisely, but there is a resemblance if you stretch a bit.

When signed 20, 22 - similar to the way many say it it appears thus:

Signasl.org fair usage 2022.

^^ With the finger tapping the thumb twice, in line with the number of syllables in "twenty" - positioned to the side of the face.

Signasl.org 2022 Fair usage.

^^ Two fingers are raised, tapped down to be horizontal, moved in an arc to the left of the image and tapped down horizontal again.

Twenty resembles bird except that bird is done in front of the mouth:

^^ The finger taps the thumb a couple of times mimicking speech through a "beak".

The resemblance in meaning may be further compounded at this point by the number two sometimes being signed like this:

^^ Resembling the common gesture similar in meaning to the other gesture with just a single finger named "giving the bird".

Peace, resembles "two" enacted with both hands:

"Go" (there are many variations on this one) is a gesture starting with a closed fist, palm facing the centre of the chest, which moves outward laterally, twisting palm-outward and in a jerk-gesture opens with two fingers:

Thus it's seen that a hearing-person or deaf child might make the simple connection, but no experienced signer would do this in-error, perhaps as a pun though.

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  • 13
    Your references to "confusion" and "error" seem to be missing the point - as I read it, the original post was an ASL user making a deliberate pun out of the similarities.
    – IMSoP
    Jan 7 at 23:22
  • 3
    Oh, fair enough, time for an edit. @IMSoP Jan 7 at 23:28
  • The ASL for "peace" seems obviously to come from the "peace sign" used throughout the world. That gesture originated during WWII, so now I wonder what the ASL sign was for the preceding century.
    – Barmar
    Jan 10 at 15:34
  • @Barmar If you look at some online dictionaries, e.g. here, you'll see that there are two signs for peace still in use.
    – IMSoP
    Jan 12 at 17:55
  • @IMSoP Thanks. I like the hand-wiping sign, it has the sense of making something clean.
    – Barmar
    Jan 12 at 17:59
12

It's a slight exaggeration to say that the numbers "translate" to a phrase, but the signs do appear to be similar enough to work as the visual equivalent of a pun.

Here are some videos demonstrating:

  • Twenty and bird are both signed by closing the fist except the thumb and index finger, and then "flapping" those two fingers together (like the bird's beak).
  • Two is signed by holding up two fingers; when expressing time, it is signed with the palm facing forward, which is also used as a way to say peace.

The exact hand-shapes and locations used wouldn't be quite the same, in the same way that "one" wouldn't necessarily be pronounced precisely the same as "won", but as a humorous comparison to "2020, too", it seems pretty fair.

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    But "won" and "one" are pronounced exactly the same. Maybe we can at least agree that it's more like the difference between "use" and "use"?
    – Laurel
    Jan 7 at 23:11
  • 3
    @Laurel Maybe... The problem with any example is that English accents vary so much that two words that are similar in one accent might be either identical, or utterly dissimilar, in a different accent.
    – IMSoP
    Jan 7 at 23:25
  • 4
    As an aside, many people, including me, pronounce "won" to rhyme with "tun" and "one" to rhyme with "gone".
    – peterG
    Jan 7 at 23:32
  • 2
    @peterG Hah, I think you just nicely proved my previous comment - clearly you and Laurel have different accents, so ended up with completely different takes on that example!
    – IMSoP
    Jan 7 at 23:35
  • 1
    I thought it was Yanny who has a different accent.
    – kaya3
    Jan 8 at 19:44

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