Level: Intermediate I

How to tell time in American Sign Language

This describes how to tell time (o'clock) in ASL in the right form as well as telling how long.

The signed phrase above contain two parts: time and three for three o'clock or 3:00.

A general format for expressing time in ASL shows as: "TIME xx|xx". Pause slightly between the hour and the minutes.

When telling the hour part, the palm orientation faces the listener for the numbers from 1 to 9. For the rest of the other three numbers (10, 11, 12), the palm orientation is the same as cardinal numbers.

The video clip above shows time 4:30.

When telling the minute part, the palm orientation again faces the listener for the numbers between zero and nine.

Use the zero and then a number between one and nine. For example: 3:08, 6:09, 12:05. For the minutes beyond ten up to 59. Use regular cardinal numbers.

The video clip above shows another example: time 7:21.

PM or AM can be identified within a phrase. The video clip above shows: time 8:35 morning or 8:35 AM.

The video clip above shows: time 8:35 evening/night or time 8:35 PM. These two phrases are a standalone. But, when expressing a sentence, the order of the words is different.

Example: my brother pick-you-up tomorrow morning time 7:30.

The part "tomorrow morning" before telling time already indicate whether it's PM or AM. The order of the sentence above is harminous.

Gloss: time three (o'clock)

The signed word "time" can be incorporated with a number. It is called a numeral incorporation. It can work with the numbers only from one to nine.

Related posts

Also see Telling how long in time .

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