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Below you will find a collection of various information
regarding signing numbers in ASL.
Numbers 1-5 Discussion:
I tend to sign numbers 1-5 "palm back." Which is to say, the palm of my hand is facing me.
Some teachers make a big deal over the palm orientation of the numbers 1-5. I don't because I see it used both ways by advanced signers. This really isn't a big deal, but some people try to make it one. If you have a teacher or friend who "cares" then sign it "their way" when you are around them.
About 20 percent of the time I do numbers 1-5 "palm
are indeed some definable rules for when to do the numbers 1-5 palm forward
or palm back. For example, if you are holding your hand away from your
body for emphasis (sort of signing in the other person's face) you will do
the number palm forward. That is the same for the days of the week,
which are typically signed somewhat low and palm back or palm up, (by advanced signers) but are
occasionally signed palm forward for emphasis. I once watched Randal King,
an excellent native signing friend of mine, give an example of this.
Anyway, as a general rule do 1-5 palm back.
Daniel: Is the sign for "2" and the sign for "V" the same?
DrVicars: Yes, 2 and "V" are the same. In normal conversation
though, it is never a problem. For example, my name:
"Vicars," you wouldn't misunderstand that as "2icars."
Context generally makes it clear. In some situations it might be more
Sharp: I found it difficult to sign the letter F am I trying to straighten the fingers too much?
DrVicars: I only straighten the pinkie and ring fingers when doing an "F" or "9." I let the middle bend half-way. Does that help?
See: Numbers 1-10
Advanced number discussion:DrVicars: When you sign numbers, you do them quite similar to the way you say them in English. For example: If you are signing "1997," you sign "19" then "97." If you do a phone number, just do it as you would say it. I leave a small pause where the hyphen would be so the watcher can write the first part (if they are writing it down), before I do the second part. The jury is still out on years like 2000 and up. Most people seem to be doing the individual numbers while sliding the hand slightly to the right. For example showing a two-zero-zero-zero for the year 2000. So THAT is the way I recommend you sign the years 2000-2009. (BUT I have time and time again observed native Deaf ASL signers using the "thousand" sign as part of the sign for years 2000 and up.)
Crazy: I don't understand how to do # 16 and on. Do I move my right or my left hand. That's my only trouble.
DrVicars: Numbers change from region to region so check with your local deaf person. The number 16 - 19 can be done a couple different ways. You use your right hand if you are right handed.
Crazy: Do I move my right towards my left?
DrVicars: No. Let me go over 16 and up. There are generally two ways to
do these numbers.
Tigie: ok thanks
Lii: How do I sign the 20's? I seem to have trouble with those numbers.
DrVicars: Again we have at least two ways. The simplest is to do the
number "2" then the next
Most people tend to bounce the number "2" twice to represent
the concept of 22.
Crazy: So only one hand is use for those numbers we just discussed?
DrVicars: Yes, that is correct.
Crazy: No wonder I was confused, I was thinking it was 2 hands!
Art: What does "L" have to do with it?
DrVicars: "L" has nothing to do with it. That is just the way
deaf people do it. Try to not think
Lii: I don't.
KC: Looks like what it is?
DrVicars: Right KC. The sign for cat visually represents a cat's whiskers. In computer terms, an icon is an image on the screen that represents a certain command. For example, a little picture of a trash can might represent the command for the computer to "throw away" or erase a file, but in general an icon is a symbol or image that represents something. I'm using it here to mean "visually representational." But you need to remember that not all signs are iconic. ASL, like any true language, is symbolic and at times arbitrary. Signs mean what they do because the people who use them say so, and that is the bottom line.
Aimie: It actually makes things easier to remember that way. [iconically]
DrVicars: Oh sure, we are "lucky" there are so many signs that look like what they represent.
Aimie: Like for meat you grab the flesh of your hand!
WVicars1: How about the number 100? What is the handshape?
WVicars1: Why do we use the "C"
for a hundred, or an "M" for the number thousand? [Note: One of the ways to sign the number 1,000 is to make an "M" on the right hand, then touch the fingertips of the "M" to the center of the left "B" palm.]
Also, the Roman numeral analogy only goes so far--the roman numeral L doesn't represent the number 50 in ASL. You just do a "5" and a "0."
Kloos: How high should we be able to sign on the numbers?
DrVicars: infinity <grin> No really, just to the thousands, for
this class. To do the larger
In a message dated 7/20/2005 4:05:05 AM Pacific Daylight Time, lwilt@______.net writes:
We were taught 16-19 this way: make a 6 + rub pinky against thumb a couple times, 7 - rub ring finger against thumb, etc.
Response: That is a fairly popular way to do it in some parts of the country. I saw that "style" for the first time at the Indianapolis Deaf Club back in 1986. I thought it was so strange since I had only seen the "twisting" version up until then (having grown up in Utah).
½ lb grapes
1 ½ lb bananas
1/8th tsp salt
2 days ago (day before yesterday)
2 weeks from now
27 feet high
28 years old
3 days ago
3 years ago
7 years old
86 feet high
9 weeks ago
Every three months
In 2 years
In 7 years
In his fifties
TAKE OFF (plane)