Navigation

Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Sign of the times Trump chosen as ‘sign of the year’ by Swiss deaf society



Hand on head: 'Donald Trump' in Swiss sign language

Hand on head: 'Donald Trump' in Swiss sign language

(Swiss Deaf Association)

In a controversial election, Donald Trump has beaten off stiff competition from “Netflix”, “vegan” and “deportation” to be chosen as “sign of the year” by the Swiss Deaf Association.

Donald Trump

(Ex-press)

“The deciding factor was the sign’s simplicity, i.e. mimicking Trump’s extraordinary thatch of hair,” said Christian Gremaud, who led the organisation’s campaign. “And also the fact that the sign has really established itself in just a short period of time across Switzerland.”

It is the first time the Swiss Deaf Associationexternal link has awarded a sign of the year.

The association explained that names or terms in the media are at first spelt out using a finger alphabet, but once the word establishes itself, deaf people come up with a sign for it. Like spoken words, if it proves popular or useful, it spreads.

Every year some 250 new signs are added to the deaf dictionary. These are decided by a commission of experts, which includes teachers, linguists and researchers.

Around 10,000 people in Switzerland are deaf from birth or have serious hearing impairments, according to the Swiss Deaf Association. Almost all of them use sign language on a daily basis. In addition, around a million people in Switzerland have hearing problems.

In this video from the Swiss Deaf Association, a “professional” signer gives the sign for various new entries, including Ausschaffungshaft (detention pending deportation) and Defence Minister Guy Parmelin. It is then over to members of the public to have a go. 

External Content

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line


subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.







Click here to see more newsletters

swissinfo EN

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

Join us on Facebook!

×