How do you say "Go" in ASL?

I have a question that I don’t know the answer to, nor do I know even where I could look for such information.

I need to know how to say Go (or Baduk, or Weiqi) in Sign languages. I asked for ASL on the title, but it needn’t be. It could be International Sign, or any of the Sign languages signed in East Asian countries.

Now, I don’t mean hand spelling, but the actual sign for the word. I wonder if anyone here might know it. Serious question, I need it for an assignment, please don’t speculate.


Like any language, there are probably many acceptable options… even in English we often use Baduk or Weiqi since Go is such a uselessly generic word… might I suggest you use the signs for “the surrounding game” (assuming you know it) since that is a great explanation of the game itself and also IIUC the literal translation for baduk/weiqi/igo


Maybe this helps …

ASL originated in the early 19th century in the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in West Hartford, Connecticut.

More info on American School for the Deaf:

Contacting them via:

following @BHydden suggestion (via ASL Sign Language Dictionary /

Good luck with your assignment!


What is the difference? (I had some ASL lessons years ago, but I don’t remember such difference at all). Scratch that, I read it wrong, I know what you mean. My coffee isn’t working yet.

I wonder if someone from AGA can help, since it’s possible they had to accommodate a deaf player at some point.


Doesn’t hand spelling refer to signs for each and every letter that together form a word?

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Caution: speculation!

Perhaps in casual situations, the sign for chess is used?


I tried to find it in that ASL dictionary. It has signs for chess, checkers and board game, but not for draughts, backgammon or (i)go/baduk/weiqi. I did notice that the sign for checkers has some similarities with chess and board game: a combination of drawing a horizontal square and moving you hands in a way typical for making moves in that game.

speculation: Go has a typical way of placing stones with the stone between the index finger and middle finger. So if a person knows the game, drawing a horizontal square and moving your hands as if you’re putting stones on the board would be readily understandable.


Do you (the OP) have a fluent ASL “speaker” you converse with? You could briefly describe go in ASL, using gennan’s suggestion (or another), and then ask them if that was a good way to do it, or if they would have done it differently.

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That which she did is handspelling (a good example too, for those who might be confused about it).
She literally said CH-E-SS.


I don’t know if this helps

“Volunteers who are said to have served as sign language interpreters for the first Go tournament. After the contest, when asked “How do I explain the Go term”, he said that there is no special sign language method, and that he uses Jihwa, which expresses handwriting by hand.”

It’s google translate, though, and I’m not good enough in Korean to help out.


The video below in the chess entry is a more descriptive sign, or is that not allowed?

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Checkers and draughts (UK) are I think synonym.
So the same sign I presume.

I was referring to the video further down the page, which genan mentioned.

Could it refer to something analogous to sketching out kanji in one’s palm? Maybe with hanja (is that the word?) or just cursive hangeul? (Or just fingerspelling?)

I thought draughts is the 10x10 version (, while checkers is the 8x8 English version (, but it seems that the British English word draughts can mean both. The 8x8 version may be referred to as English draughts in British English, while checkers is the American English word for the 8x8 version.


Here I found some baduk tournaments mentioned, but unfortunately I kind readily find any videos. I’m positive they have someone providing sign language interpretation in speeches, so someone mentioning “baduk” during their speech and catching the SL interpreter’s sign would probably do it.

Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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I think they mean they do hand spelling and there isn’t an actual sign, but I could be wrong.

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Actually, the Kanji/Kana duality serves as a good analogy.

If you were a Japanese person, with Japanese as first language, a Japanese education and so on, chances are that what you feel a word to be, as the word itself, and in written form would be the Kanji.

However, you also know that there is like a “spelling” version of the world, in Kana.

In the case of Sign languages, they have native words signed (spoken) in their native language. Handspelling is somewhat akin to Katakana, in that is used to spell mostly loanwords that come from spoken languages.


(me, down the google search rabbit hole)
This person combines ASL and Go, maybe they can help, it never hurts to ask. :slight_smile:

They mention SL interpreter, so they probably can be of help in some capacity. Still I’d say AGA is the best bet.

Also, “weiqi” is in :woman_shrugging:t2:


Ah, I see now. Unfortunately, I can’t use that.

What I need the word for, is because I’m 99.99% certain that there is no such word in the Sign language of my country (For all practical purposes, you could say that I basically know all Costa Rican go players [1], and none of them are deaf. The chances that someone might have already “loaned” that word just for any other random reason are close to zero).

[1]: This is not a boast. There is like 50 of them.