In Episode 5 of The Mandalorian, Mando uses a form of sign language to communicate with two characters.

From an out of universe perspective, do any of the signs he is using correlate to ASL (American Sign Language) or any of the other formal signs used around the world?

The Mandalorian stands facing a point to the viewer's left.  His left arm is in front of him, horizontally from the elbow, with the fingers straight and hand oriented vertically with the back facing outward.  His right hand, also with straight fingers and held vertically, is above his left hand as though making a chopping motion.

  • 1
    Could you also add to the question, what is this sign language "in" universe? Is it a tuskan raider specific sign language, or something else? How did mando know this sign language? or was he just improvising. Dec 8 '19 at 12:16
  • @vikingsteve - no, for a couple of reasons. 1) there should really only be one question per..well..question. I'm specifically asking about the production, not the story. 2) I asked a question in meta re: this show specifically and I personally would prefer to wait until the season at least has ended before asking questions that may get answered next week - scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12826/…
    – NKCampbell
    Dec 8 '19 at 15:33
  • Well I asked another question about the "in-universe" reference to this language, and they closed it. Dec 8 '19 at 22:33
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    The actor, Troy Kotsur, playing the Tusken Raider conversing with Mando is deaf.
    – L.T.Smash
    Dec 11 '19 at 13:28

According to Troy Kostur, the deaf actor who developed it (and played one of the Tusken Raiders), it is an in-universe language developed by the Tusken people named Tusken Sign Language, and he purposefully tried to avoid ASL to avoid it being a gloss.

"I did research on the culture and environment of Tusken Raiders," says Kotsur. "My goal was to avoid [American Sign Language]. I made sure it became Tusken Sign Language based on their culture and environment."

It is currently unknown how developed the language actually is. They may have just invented specific phrases or signs for the episode. Given the iconic origin of most sign languages (starting as pantomime, and developing into a fully-featured language), it would be unsurprising if there's some crossover in signs with something like American Sign Language, but it has been stated to not be ASL.


Some, most can make out of what he said. He said “we ride to mountain over your land”

Then they said “you ride over, no” (maybe mean will kill you) Then mando said “mountain, (something, maybe how much?)”

They said want device that can see afar?

I am Deaf and use ASL and know few other foreign sign languages.


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