Count to 100 in American Sign Language
Learning numbers is a key part of basic ASL instruction. Even if you only know a few signs, once you can count and fingerspell, your communication will improve by leaps and bounds!
1. Learn how to sign the numbers 1-5.The numbers 1-5 are just like counting on your fingers
Learn how to sign the numbers 1-5.The numbers 1-5 are just like counting on your fingers. The trick is to remember the order. It goes index finger (1), index and middle (2), index, middle, and thumb (3), all but thumb (4), and all five fingers (5). Normally, you should orient your hand palm back (palm facing you) for these numbers. Avoid the temptation to sign two with thumb and index finger, or four with all but pinkie, which may feel more natural when counting.
2. Learn how to sign the numbers 6-9
Learn how to sign the numbers 6-9. The numbers 6-9 are counted off by touching a finger to your thumb. Your palm is oriented out (towards the person to whom you are signing). The order is pinkie to thumb (6), then ring finger (7), middle finger (8), index (9). If you forget which way this goes, it might be helpful to remember that for the smallest number (6) you touch your thumb to the smallest finger (pinkie).
3. Learn how to sign the number 10
Learn how to sign the number 10. The number 10 is signed by shaking an “A” hand thumb up (fingers bent in, thumb against the side of the index finger).
4. Learn how to sign the numbers 11-15
Learn how to sign the numbers 11-15. The numbers 11-12 require “flicking” your fingers up two times, palm back. So for 11, flick your index finger up, for 12 your index and middle pressed together. For 13, it’s more of a “come here” gesture with the thumb out and two fingers pressed together again, bending in twice rather than flicking out. Same for 14 (all fingers bend in twice with thumb tucked in), and 15 (all fingers bend in twice with thumb out).
5. Learn how to sign the numbers 16-19
Learn how to sign the numbers 16-19. For 16-19, you twist the base number twice, starting palm back. You twist the wrist as if you were going to turn the sign all the way to face palm out, but it doesn’t go all the way, only about 1/2 (so if you’re right handed it goes from palm back to palm left twice). 16 is the 6 sign twisted twice, 17 the 7 sign, etc.
6. Learn how to sign the number 20
Learn how to sign the number 20. For 20, tap your thumb and index finger together twice, fingertips facing forward, other fingers bent at the knuckle with their tips touching the base of your palm (like pinching something). This looks like the sign for “G” opening and closing.
7. Learn how to sign the number 21
Learn how to sign the number 21. The sign for 21 almost looks like a gun–palm back, index finger pointing to the side, thumb pinches down twice against the index finger.
8. Learn how to sign the number 22
Learn how to sign the number 22. The sign for 22 is a “2” with the palm facing down, followed by another two signed a few inches away (towards the right if you’re right-handed). The same idea is used for 33, 44, etc.
9. Learn how to sign the numbers 23 and 25
Learn how to sign the numbers 23 and 25. The signs for 23 and 25 are similar–palm oriented forward, start from a “3” handshape and flick the middle finger down twice (23) or start from a “5” shape and flick middle finger down twice (25).
10. Learn the signs for the number 24 and the numbers 26-29
Learn the signs for the number 24 and the numbers 26-29. The signs for 24 and 26-29 are all palm forward, sign that “gun” shape with the index finger pointing forward and thumb up, then sign the 4, 6, 7, 8, or 9 after it.
11. Learn how to sign the numbers which are evenly divisible by ten(such as 30,40,50)
Learn how to sign the numbers which are evenly divisible by ten(such as 30,40,50). The signs for 30, 40, 50 etc are simply 3-0 (hand in an “o” shape), 4-0, etc.
All the numbers in between are formed the same way, palm forward, as digits (4-7, 8-2, etc.) with the exception of double numbers like 33 (see above).
There is one other exception–35 can be signed like 25 except you flick your ring finger down instead of the middle. This is optional, though. 3-5 is also perfectly acceptable.
12. Practice signing 30-99
Practice signing 30-99. Remember that your palm faces out except for the double numbers (33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99) which are signed with the palm down. 30-99 are signed as single digits, so 32 will be signed 3-2, 41 will be 4-1, etc.
13. Learn how to sign the number 100
Learn how to sign the number 100. The sign for 100 is 1-C (think Roman numerals).