How do you say "Go" in ASL?

Interesting, I didn’t know that Costa RIca uses ASL. Do all American countries use it?

I found baduk(바둑) in this Korean Sign Language Dictionary. It may be the Korean spelling of the word, but perhaps the last gesture is descriptive about hand movement when placing a stone?


Haha no, it does not.

I thought ASL would be the most likely language someone here might know the word for. Costa Rica has its own (called LESCO). They are apparently related though.


Oh dear! Thank you!!

She does both I think. I do think the same thing. That is really useful.


Google translation of the definition on that site

[Noun] A sport in which two people share a black stone and a white stone and place them one by one on a checkerboard to compete. You must have two or more houses to live, and you win if you occupy a lot of houses that surround each other.”


This looks very strange to me.

Probably the words have some double meaning or something, and we all know how Google decides what makes sense in translation…



Koreans say houses instead of eyes.

EDIT: I thinks there’s even a Baduk proverb that says something along the lines of “Don’t go shopping when your house is on fire.”

Hehe, I wish I knew Korean (you know what I mean :wink:)


InSeong Hwang 8d EGF sometimes uses house as a go term in his (English) lessons, coming from Korean go terminology. But as far as I understood from his usage, house means a (secure) territory, perhaps including the surrounding stones, like a castle.

But in that (google translation from the) dictionary, house can mean eye, intersection or group? That is much more ambiguous than InSeong’s usage of the term. Perhaps the writer of that Korean description is not a go player and they made some mistakes?


I don’t think the word “house” is misplaced there. I have no other sources than anecdotal conversation with a Korean person where that came about, but they do mean living spaces a.k.a. “eyes”.

Actually, I would take more exception to the word “checkerboard.” I think that “棋” means game board, and it is used for all sorts of games, like Chinese chess. My point is that none of those boards are checkered, which seems more of a feature of western boardgames. In my opinion it would better be described as a “lattice board” instead of a “checkerboard”.


According to this dictionary entry, 棋(qi) by itself means board game rather than game board (although the kanji has a semantic left part of wooden, hinting at a wooden board).
A 2nd meaning is strategy.

Its usage in composites like weiqi (go), xianqi (chinese chess), tiaoqi (chinese checkers/draughts) and xiyangqi (western chess) suggests that 棋 even has both meanings, i.e. strategical board game.

So I think that checkerboard in google’s translation should have been go board (also see the same translation mistake in the explanation of the Korean sign for go board).


I was able to find this in a Chinese Sign Language dictionary:

  1. Stretch out your hands and enclose them towards the center.
  2. Make small circles with the thumb and index fingers and walk them forward like playing moves.

This is interesting, but I don’t think I can reliably reproduce it with that description (I fear I’d mess it up). :confused:

I would have thought they all would use a similar sign, but I was wrong. As idiosyncratic as stone placement is in Go, I guess not everyone approaches the word from that angle.

1 Like

Now I’m wondering how the idea of “Hangul signs look like how you produce that sound with your speech apparatus” is transferred into Korean SL.


“I am an American Sign Language student who would like to know what the Japanese Sign Language (JSL) sign for go is, since there is no set sign I know of for the game here in the United States,” writes Valerie Smith. “The sign can be in either JSL or MSL (Manual Sign Language in Japanese).”

According to Daniel Short, a deaf member of the Empty Sky and Baltimore go clubs, he and a friend use the motion of placing a stone as a logical sign for the game during conversation.

AGA E-Journal 19 February 2007

Further reading:

1 Like