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In the episode 5, the Mandalorian communicates with two Tusken Raiders using sign language.

In the Star Wars universe, what sign language is he using? Is it a special sign language to Tusken Raiders, or a language commonly used on Tatooine, and in such case how did he know it?

Maybe there is a common sign language for communicating with droids or other Star Wars races that cannot speak?

Or perhaps is he improvising?

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.

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He is signing in Tusken Sign Language, which was developed by deaf actor Tory Kotsur, who also played one of the Tusken Raiders.

RENCA DUNN: Kotsur mentioned that when the team got script, it mentioned sign language. One hearing person on the team knows sign language and that person mentioned that a deaf person should consult the sign language and become the role of being a Tusken Raider. Kotsur said that this is a good example for why it is important to have sign language classes for hearing people so they can become our allies for various opportunities out in the world.

We were curious about how Kotsur developed Tusken Sign Language.

TROY KOTSUR: I did research on the culture and environment of Tusken Raiders. I researched on the desert called "sand people." That is what Luke Skywalker calls them "sand people." Anyway, my goal was to avoid ASL. I made sure it became Tusken Sign Language based on their culture and environment.

It is as yet unexplained why Din Djarin or Grogu knows the language.

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  • There really aren't many details on TSL (although reportedly some fans are trying to build the vocabulary and grammar), so it's unknown as to how fleshed out it is (hopefully, as someone who already signs a full-featured language, Kotsur didn't turn this into pantomime or something that directly maps to English). – FuzzyBoots Dec 9 '20 at 21:38
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    be sure to go answer here too! scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/224055/… – NKCampbell Dec 9 '20 at 21:38
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As mentioned by @Valorum, Galactic Sign Language is a universally common form of communication. It's likely that the Mandalorian was communicating using that.
Tuskens presumably are familiar with this because they were known to adopt orphans they found (much like the Mandalorians.) While the "native" Tuskens didn't speak Galactic Common, their adopted members probably did and were able to teach them the sign language.

(I can't directly cite any of this as I don't have the game or book with me, but most of this comes from Secrets of Tatooine and the Galactic Phrase Book.)

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    I posted it as a comment because I didn't think there was sufficient resemblance (or proof) to post it as an answer. – Valorum Mar 22 '20 at 22:30
  • he said "maybe". – vikingsteve Mar 23 '20 at 14:35
  • @vikingsteve The point here is that this is Stack Exchange is a Q&A site that seeks verifiable support for answers, not opinions. What we have here is a theory, not an answer, regardless of how plausible. That's why Valorum didn't answer; he just provided a possible lead for somebody who might want to do the research required. – T.J.L. Mar 23 '20 at 18:25
  • Exactly. So I dont see why this is a good answer, given there is no supporting information that I can verify – vikingsteve Mar 23 '20 at 20:02

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