ASL: How to Sign about Your Family Members - dummies

ASL: How to Sign about Your Family Members

By Adan R. Penilla, II, Angela Lee Taylor

If you want to share information about your family by using American Sign Language (ASL), you need to know a few signs. Describing your family is one way to tell someone about yourself. Using the common signs in this table can make your eccentric family seem almost normal.


Signs for some other members of your family, such as grandparents and in-laws, are a bit trickier:

  • Grand-relatives: To talk about your grandparents or your grandchildren, fingerspell G-R-A-N-D, and then sign the person’s role.

  • In-laws: Sign the person’s role and then sign law.

  • Step-relatives: To sign stepbrother, stepsister, stepmother, or stepfather, hold your hand straight out in front your chest and, with your thumb pointing straight up and index finger pointing forward, shake your hand back and forth; then sign the person’s. (It sort of looks like you’re pointing at someone with a very shaky hand.)

  • Half-siblings: Sign a half-sibling by expressing the manual “1/2,” and then brother or sister.