Oberlin Blogs

An Introduction to OSCA Hand Signs

August 25, 2014

Thanks to Natalie Hartog and Karalyn Grimes for their help compiling a list of images! I’ve been in OSCA for a year, but without their help this post would have some glaring error, I’m sure.

Tomorrow is move-in day for all the returning students, and even though the new students in OSCA have probably already had their first introduction to OSCAn discussions, it’s always good to have a refresher! If you are new to OSCA, just want to see all the hand symbols again, or are looking for more information on OSCA for some reason - this post is for you! And if you’re not in OSCA, enjoy the little colorful hands flopping around!

[Accessibility note: use the following button to turn off moving images.]


Raise your hand if you want to get put on stack.

I have something to say (open hand, palm forward)


Make a proposition by making a little llama with your hand.

I propose (hand with index and pinkie fingers raised to form a llama's ears, and the middle and ring fingers touching the thumb to form a snout)


Kill your proposal by turning the proposal llama upside down.

I kill my proposal (hand in the llama shape, turned over as if the llama is lying on its back)


Ask a factually based question with the ASL figure for “c.”

Clarifying question (hand forming the letter C with thumb and fingers)


To respond to a clarifying question, make the ASL figure for “d.”

Direct response (hand with the index finger raised and the other fingers forming a circle with the thumb)


If someone’s made a factual error, you can correct them with the ASL symbol for “f.”

Factual correction (index finger and thumb form a circle, with the other 3 fingers standing up)


If something’s not going according to procedure, you can point it out with the ASL sign for "i."

Procedural pinky (a closed fist is raised, then the pinkie finger extends)


Let people know you agree with what's being said by making a knocking motion with your first, meaning “yes.”

I agree with that (a closed fist moves up and down at the wrist, as if nodding)


If you want to continue a discussion later:

Let’s table the discussion (Hands held flat and perpendicular to each other, forming the letter T)


Turn your thumb up if you agree, to the side if you feel uncomfortable with a proposal passing, or down if you feel the proposal is an absolutely awful decision. Make a closed fist if you want to abstain from voting.

Described in the preceding paragraph

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