Signs for COLOR

Color is in the eye of the beholder. "How we perceive colour depends on our culture and language." – Prof. Anna Franklin. Ref

Printable ASL sign for COLOR

ASL signs for COLOR

Learn some common colors and the word "color" in ASL.

Meaning: The property possessed by an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, that can be determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant "5" (handshape), palm in (orientation), wiggling fingers (movement) on the chin (location).

Isn't this ASL sign "color" so COLORFUL? :D

Not to be confused with the sign SPEAK -- different palm orientation and handshape ("4" for SPEAK contrasting "5" for COLOR).

Related colors in ASL

Related signs of the common colors: BLACK, WHITE, GRAY/GREY, RED, GREEN, YELLOW, PURPLE, BLUE.

Related concepts: Without LIGHT, there is no color. Without COLOR WHEEL, there is no ART.

For exercises on the vocabulary of colors, see the tutorial page.

Baby signing "color"

In general, toddlers begin to recognize colors as early as 18 months, around the same time they begin to notice different shapes, sizes, and textures. Though, they should be able to name at least one color between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old.

Children develop at different paces; Deaf, hearing, and coda babies are not different in terms of their natural language development and the milestones in recognizing and naming colors, whether signed or spoken language as their first language.

In a case study of the baby "Juli", I introduced colors to her at age 1;6. At 1;7, the baby learned to differentiate the colors, for example, between yellow and red. At age 1;8, she was able to name all colors, except some mystery surrounding "black" sometimes as red.

At age 3;9 in the video, the toddler Juli asked her mother a simple question, "What is your favorite color?" The mother gave a long, complex 21-second answer; after all she's an artist. Then, Juli helped her mother by suggesting, "light purple?" with an encouraging nod. So sweet and funny.

Colors around the world

One culture/language has only two color terms: dark (cool colors) and light (warm colors). Another has a few terms. For example, blue and green are together as one term. Another language/culture doesn't have a term for 'color'. The way we perceive colors can also change over time. Ref

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 COLOR

Feeling lucky? Random word

Basic word starters: hello / learn / ASL / sign language / alphabet / love / I love you / please / thank you / welcome...

Search Tips and Pointers

Search/Filter: Enter a keyword in the filter/search box to see a list of available words with the "All" selection. Click on the page number if needed. Click on the blue link to look up the word. For best result, enter a partial word to see variations of the word.

Screenshot of dictionary search with notes
Screenshot of the search dictionary

Alphabetical letters: It's useful for 1) a single-letter word (such as A, B, etc.) and 2) very short words (e.g. "to", "he", etc.) to narrow down the words and pages in the list.

For best result, enter a short word in the search box, then select the alphetical letter (and page number if needed), and click on the blue link.

Screenshot of dictionary search with notes
Screenshot of the search dictionary

Don't forget to click "All" back when you search another word with a different initial letter.

If you cannot find (perhaps overlook) a word but you can still see a list of links, then keep looking until the links disappear! Sharpening your eye or maybe refine your alphabetical index skill. :)

Add a Word: This dictionary is not exhaustive; ASL signs are constantly added to the dictionary. If you don't find a word/sign, you can send your request (only if a single link doesn't show in the result).

Videos: The first video may be NOT the answer you're looking for. There are several signs for different meanings, contexts, and/or variations. Browsing all the way down to the next search box is highly recommended.

Video speed: Signing too fast in the videos? See HELP in the footer.

ASL has its own grammar and structure in sentences that works differently from English. For plurals, verb inflections, word order, etc., learn grammar in the "ASL Learn" section. For search in the dictionary, use the present-time verbs and base words. If you look for "said", look up the word "say". Likewise, if you look for an adjective word, try the noun or vice versa. E.g. The ASL signs for French and France are the same. If you look for a plural word, use a singular word.