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Learn Buffalonian sign language

Are you a visual learner? If so, sign language might be for you.

As September, Deaf Awareness Month, comes to a close, it's not too late to honor it by learning a few Buffalo-specific signs. The month is meant to draw attention to the deaf community and focuses on its needs and rights around the world.

First, let’s start with the sign of Buffalo, as in the city. It’s formed with one hand, kind of like two buffalo horns. And the hand motion is a surfer “hang loose” kind of motion on the forehead.

Once you’ve mastered that, try the sign for buffalo, as in the animal. This one is made with two hands, still in the forehead area. Each hand kind of forms the animal’s horns on your head. Try not to get the buffalo signs mixed up, because that could make for a confusing conversation.

While using the correct sign for the City of Buffalo, you also can test out this next one. To sign New York State, make a “Y” shape with your right hand by putting down your middle three fingers. Then move the “Y” hand along the flat palm of your other hand.

Buffalonians know what’s important. Clearly, if you’re from Buffalo or live in Buffalo, you should know the sign for chicken wing. This sign has two parts. First, you make a chicken beak with your thumb and pointer finger. Make the beak open and close. Then, make a wing with your arm like when you do the chicken dance.

Snow is also an important sign for the area, much to some people’s dismay. The sign for snow mimics the flakes falling and you can adjust the downward motion to visually show how the snow is falling. Is it a fierce storm or a soft cascade of flakes?

These are just a few signs to get you started. To check out more signs, try free online sign language dictionaries such as or

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