Singing and signing Happy Birthday in ASL

This is a creative interpretation of The Birthday Song sung in English while signed in ASL (American Sign Language). It is more a compilation of different ways people sign Happy Birthday in ASL than it is an answer to “how do you sign Happy Birthday in ASL?” It is difficult to sing these words and produce these signs at the same time, because the signs do not match the words verbatim— it’s like trying to rub your belly and pat your head at the same time.

I chose these sign couplets with similar handshapes to create sign rhymes; for example, the line CAN’T-WAIT ARRIVE-BIRTHDAY BABY YOU uses the B handshape for all four signs, the line CONDUCT-SONG-BIRTHDAY, TUG-EAR-BIRTHDAY uses the “Closed X” handshape for both signs, the line THRILLED BIRTHDAY uses the “Open 8” handshape for both signs, and the line HAPPY BIRTH DAY TO YOU uses the 1 handshape twice and the B handshape thrice. I saved the “regular” signs for last, as the last two lines are the two most popular ways to sign Happy Birthday.

I thank the deaf people from other regions from whom I learned the signs CONDUCT-SONG-BIRTHDAY and EAR-TUG-BIRTHDAY, and I thank YouTuber hippiesordo for the line “YOU BORN TODAY, WOO-HOO.” This song is dedicated to my ASL interpreter friend Paul on whose birthday I made this video.





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