ASL Handshapes Described

ASL Handshapes Described

These transcripts have been developed for a person who is right hand dominant.  If a user is left hand dominant, please reverse hands.

# number handshapes

“1” handshape: place hand in fist with only the index finger extended, The thumb is opposed and closed so the thumb pad restrains the middle finger.

“3” handshape: The thumb is extended. The index finger and middle finger are extended and spread apart. The other fingers are closed to the palm.

“Bent 3” handshape: The thumb is extended, the index and middle fingers are hooked by extending the proximal/base joints but bending the medial and distal joints, and the other fingers are curled into a fist.

“4” handshape: All four fingers are extended and spread apart. The thumb is opposed and closed to the palm.

“5” handshape: All four fingers are extended and spread apart. The thumb is unopposed and extended.

“Bent 5” handshape: All fingers and the thumb are spread and slightly bent at each joint to form the shape of a claw.

“6” handshape: The little finger is closed, the other fingers extended and spread apart. The thumb is opposed and bent across the palm, restraining the fingernail of the little finger.

“7” handshape: The ring finger is closed, the other fingers extended and spread apart. The thumb is opposed and bent across the palm, restraining the fingernail of the ring finger.

"8” handshape: The middle finger is closed, the other fingers extended and spread apart. The thumb is opposed and bent across the palm, restraining the fingernail of the middle finger.

“open 8” handshape: The fingers and thumb are spread with the middle finger bent at the base joint and all other fingers extended.

“9” handshape: also known as the ASL “F” handshape. The tip of the thumb touches the tip of index finger, forming a loop. The other fingers are extended and spread.

“flat 9” handshape: The pad of the thumb touches the pad of index finger, forming a long tear-drop shape. The other fingers are extended and spread.

A

“A” handshape: The fingers are together and curled into a fist. The thumb is unopposed but closed against the radial edge of the index finger.

“Open A” handshape: The fingers are together and curled into a fist. The thumb is extended out on the plane of the palm.

B

“B” handshape: The fingers are together and extended to form a flat plane with the palm. The thumb is tucked in against the palm.

“Bent B” handshape: The fingers are together and bent at the base but otherwise extended. The thumb is flat along the radial edge of the hand.

“Flat B” handshape: All four fingers are extended and together and the thumb is flat against the radial edge of the hand.

“Open B” handshape: All four fingers are extended and together and the thumb is extended to make a flat hand with a gap between the thumb and the edge of the hand. This shape is also known as “extended B”, “open hand”, and “closed 5”.

“C” handshape: The fingers are together and curved. The thumb is opposed and curved so the thumb and index finger resemble the letter C.

“Flat C” handshape: The fingers are together and partially bent from the palm at the base joint but otherwise extended, and the thumb is opposed and parallel with the fingers.

D

“D” handshape: The index finger is extended, the thumb opposed and partially bent, the other fingers together and partially bent such that the tip of the middle finger touches the tip of the thumb.

“E” handshape: All four fingers are bent and hooked, with the thumb opposed and fully closed so that its length touches the fingernails of the other fingers.

“G” handshape: The index finger is bent at the base joint but otherwise extended, the thumb is rotated outward from the palm at the base and extended so that it is parallel with the index finger, and the other three fingers are curled into the palm.

“H” handshape: The index and middle fingers are extended and together, and the other fingers and thumb are curled into a fist.

“I” handshape: The little finger is extended, the other fingers are closed against the palm, and the thumb is closed against the index finger.

“K” handshape: The index finger is fully extended, the middle finger is bent at the base but otherwise extended to a right angle with the index finger, the thumb is against the side of the middle finger, and the other fingers are curled to the palm.

“L” handshape: The index finger is extended, the other fingers are curled into the palm, and the thumb is extended outward, flat with the palm.

M  

“M” handshape: The fingers are curled into a fist, with the thumb under the index, middle, and ring finger, so that the thumb tip protrudes between the ring finger and the little finger.

“Open M” handshape: The pinky is closed, the thumb is closed over the pinky, and the index, middle, and ring fingers are together and angled at the knuckle, touching the thumb.

"N” handshape: The fingers are curled into a fist, with the thumb under the index and middle fingers, so that the thumb tip protrudes between the middle finger and the ring finger).

“Open N” handshape: The pinky and ring fingers are closed with the thumb closed over them and the index and middle fingers are together and angled at the knuckle, touching the thumb.

O  

“O” handshape: The fingers are extended, together, and curled and the tip of the thumb is touching the tip of the index and middle fingers to form a circle.

“Flat O" handshape: All four fingers are together and bent at the base joint but otherwise straight, the thumb is opposed and extended, the thumb pad touching the pads of the index finger and middle finger.

“Small O” handshape: The pad of the index finger touches the tip of the thumb to form a circle. The other fingers are curled into a fist.

R

“R” handshape: The index and middle fingers are extended and crossed so the middle finger wraps behind the index finger, and the other fingers and thumb are curled into a fist.

S  

“S” handshape: The fingers are together and curled into a fist, and the thumb is opposed, its pad restraining the back of the index and middle fingers.

T

“T” handshape: The fingers are curled into a fist, with the thumb under the index finger, so that the thumb tip protrudes between the index finger and the middle finger.

V

“V” handshape: The index and middle fingers are extended and spread apart, while the other fingers and thumb are curled into a fist.

“Bent V” handshape:  The index and middle fingers are bent by extending the proximal/base joints but bending the medial and distal joints, and the other fingers and thumb are curled into a fist.

X

“X” handshape: The index finger is bent by extending the base joint but partially bending the medial and distal joints, and the other fingers and thumb are curled into a fist.

“Open X” handshape: The index finger is bent by extending the base joint but partially bending the medial and distal joints, the other fingers are curled into a fist, and the thumb is unopposed and extended.

Y

“Y” handshape: The thumb and little finger are extended wide, and the other fingers are closed against the palm.

ILY 

“I/L/Y” handshape: (so named because it is an assimilation of the ASL 'I', 'L', and 'Y' handshapes). The index finger and little finger are extended and slightly spread, the other fingers are closed to the palm, and the thumb is unopposed and extended.

Corna

“Corna” handshape: The index finger and little finger are extended to resemble parallel horns, the other fingers are closed to the palm, and the thumb is tucked over the closed fingers.