Tutorial level: Intermediate I

How to tell phone numbers in American Sign Language

Learn how to tell phone numbers in American Sign Language (ASL) for intermediate level. For beginners, learn the number from 1 to 100 first.


As a general rule, the format of telling a phone number is as follows: (x|xx) x|xx xx|xx where the gloss symbol 'x' represents a number, the gloss symbol | shows whether one signs a single number or two-digit number, and the space reflects a slight pause between numbers.

For example, the phone number (816) 753-1833 is expressed as 8|16 7|53 18|33 with a pause between groups of numbers whereas the symbol | stands for separating whole numbers (e.g. between 8 and 16 or between 18 and 33).

There is an exception for the three-digit phone number such as 911, 711, 411, etc. The format is an individual digit.

The video above shows three individual numbers 7-1-1.

Same format for 911 (9|1|1). But do not sign the format 9-11 (as in x|xx) because it refers to the September 11 (9/11) tragedy.

Likewise, the structure is different for the 24-hour convenience store "7-Eleven" from the phone number 711. The ASL structure for "7-Eleven store" is 7-11.


Watch each of the four videos in which a Deaf elder tells a phone number. If needed, replay the video and write down your answer. Check your answer. Don't worry if you get mistakes. Practice and practice your receptive skills.

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