YELLOW in sign language

This word entry contains ASL sign for "yellow", how baby acquires the handshape "Y", and related signwords.

ASL sign for YELLOW

ASL sign for YELLOW

How do you sign "yellow" in American Sign Language?

Definition: of the color between green and orange in the spectrum; colored like ripe lemons, bananas or egg yolks.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant upright "Y" handshape twists at the wrist twice (or more if 'shake-like').

Kid signing "yellow"

In child development, toddlers can grasp the idea of colors at about 18 months. When asking, they may point to the color in a set of colors. Most kids can name at least one color by the age of 3 (regardless of deaf or hearing children, manually speaking or vocally speaking).

The time-lapse shows how the ASL-speaking baby acquires the ASL word "yellow". It looks easy to a naive eye, but in a close lens, the phonological process with the thumb and the pinkie takes a bit longer for babies in general.

In the phonological process, the handshape "A" is one of a few unmarked handshapes that emerges early. Notice that the baby Juli used this handshape (error) in YELLOW which emerged at about 1;7. At age 2;7, she seemed to be conscious of the handshape error. The "Y" handshape hadn't been formed yet. At age 2;8, she consciously attampted to form the "Y" handshape. During the transition, I observed the "t-i" handshape sometimes prior to forming the "Y" handshape at ease. From age 2;10, the full "Y" handshape emerged.

Every child develops at different pace and with different strategies; however, the process is similar across a timeline or time frames in language acquisition.


Similar movement and location but different handshapes: GREEN and BLUE.

Related signs: COLOR. If you mix yellow with red, you get ORANGE.


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Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

ASL writing for deep/bold YELLOW

ASL written digit for YELLOW.

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