Signs for HOME

Sweet home sweet.

ASL sign for "home"

"How do you say 'home' in American Sign Language?"

Definition: The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

Pronunciation/articulation: Dominant "flat O" handshape touching on the cheek near the mouth and then touching on the cheek again a bit away from the mouth.

The sign originally came from the compound EAT+BED which became assimilated into non-compound sign HOME. It's called "perseverative assimilation".

Minimal Pairs

Different handshape with same movement and location: YESTERDAY, NATIVE-AMERICAN.

Kid signing "home"

The time-lapse video shows how the bilingual ASL-speaking child acquired the word "home" in American Sign Language on the phonological level from toddler to kindergarten. Like words in spoken languages, it takes time for a child to develop and pronounce the words over time in sign language.

The ASL word "home" first emerged during the one-word stage. The ASL word began with the "20" or "baby O" handshape which is one of few unmarked handshapes (about 7) out of 50+ handshapes. At age 1;7, one can capture a subtle shift into "30" handshape for a while before the correct handshape "flat O" is formed at about age 1;11.

An interesting, perhaps surprising, was that one can easily assume that the movement was easy and correct for a long time, until Juli moved her hand from one cheek to the other cheek rather than from the lower cheek to the upper cheek at about age 2;11. This shows how the brain processing worked inside the kid's mind. When the preschooler became conscious of the arc motion, not tapping on the cheek, the child pronounced the movement erroneously (proximalization). At about age 3;3, the movement was then correct. The movement evolved from tapping twice, to the arc motion in an incorrect way, then to the arc movement in the correct way.

Again, each child develops at a different pace; however, phonological processing and timeline frames are consistent regardless of the modalities -- visual-spatial and aural-vocal languages.

Related sign words

Of all the HOUSES she'd lived in, Tabitha the house spider liked the BOATHOUSE the best. The APARTMENT was small and the roaches were too quick. Her CONDO had a troublesome cat, and the three bedroom home was too chaotic with too many noisy kids. Every DWELLING she found was infested with people who would try to squish her. She often wished she could settle in an abandoned CABIN or COTTAGE in the woods, but alas she was not a recluse. Unfortunately, the boathouse collapsed due to termites, so for the time being, she was HOMELESS. Though there was a nice little DUPLEX being built up the street. Maybe she could get there before the people took over. Probably not though, she just got swatted by a newspaper.


First 100 words.

  1. again
  2. also
  3. ask
  4. bad
  5. boy
  6. but
  7. can
  8. come
  9. deaf
  10. different
  11. drink
  12. drive
  13. eat
  14. email
  15. excuse
  16. family
  17. feel
  18. few
  19. find
  20. fine
  21. fingerspell
  22. finish
  23. food
  24. for
  25. forget
  26. friend
  27. get
  28. girl
  29. give
  30. go
  31. good
  32. have, has, had
  33. he
  34. hearing
  35. hello
  36. help
  37. home
  38. how
  39. Internet
  40. know
  41. later
  42. like (feeling)
  43. little
  44. live
  45. man
  46. many
  47. me
  48. meet
  49. more
  50. my
  51. name
  52. need
  53. new
  54. no
  55. not
  56. now
  57. ok, okay
  58. old
  59. other
  60. please
  61. remember
  62. same
  63. say
  64. school
  65. see
  66. she
  67. should
  68. sign, signed word
  69. slow
  70. some
  71. sorry
  72. store
  73. take
  74. tell
  75. text, sms
  76. thank, thank you
  77. their
  78. they
  79. think
  80. time
  81. tired
  82. try
  83. understand
  84. use
  85. wait
  86. want
  87. what
  88. when
  89. where
  90. which
  91. who
  92. why
  93. will
  94. with
  95. woman
  96. work
  97. write
  98. yes
  99. you
  100. your

As you feel more comfortable with the first few hundreds of ASL signs, progress further with your vocabulary and learn signing more.