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Basic Sign Language Everyone Should Know

ASL Basic Signs

September is Deaf Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness around deafness and the issues faced by the deaf and those experiencing hearing loss in our communities. There are a large number of people impacted by hearing loss in our world today – over 1.5 billion, in fact. In the United States and Canada alone, it’s estimated that ‘250,000-500,000 use American Sign Language (ASL) as their native language for communication‘. 

Many of us know someone with hearing loss, and our team at Goodwin Recruiting is no exception. Knowing the basics of sign language can be extremely helpful in a variety of situations – not only for friends or family with hearing loss, but for those with autism, those with small children (helping them to learn signs before they’re able to talk), those who are nonverbal, or anyone who experiences trouble with oral language. ASL can even help us communicate with one another in loud places like a concert, or in quiet places like a library.

Here are some useful signs to learn, if you’re just getting started with the basics: 


Using your dominant hand, put it to your forehead, and extend it out. Kind of like a salute. 
ASL 'Hello'


Wave with your palm extended out, with your palm facing away from you. 
ASL 'Goodbye'


I Love You
Point to yourself, cross your arms in front of your chest, then point to the person you’re talking to.
ASL 'I love you'


Keep your hands flat, facing your chest, and pull them up – while making a happy face.
IG Live Event


Place your hands in front of your face, with palms facing you. Bring both of your hands down and make a sad face.
IG Live Event


My Name Is …
Put your hand on your chest, then put your first two fingers together on each hand and tap them together, then spell your name.
ASL 'My name is'


Make the letter “T” for toilet, then shake your hand.
ASL 'Bathroom'


Using your dominant hand, make a fist facing out and pretend that your hand is nodding. You can nod your head up and down, as well.
ASL 'Yes'


Hold your pointer and middle finger together and bring them down to touch your thumb. You can shake your head side to side, as well.
ASL 'No'


Place your hand flat on your chest and move in a circular pattern, opposite of your dominant hand.
ASL ' Please'

Thank You

Bring your hand up to your chin, and extend it outwards.
ASL 'Thank you'


For a full overview of the alphabet using ASL: American Sign Language Alphabet | Learn American Sign Language Letters 

When using sign language, it’s good practice to keep your facial expressions in line with what you’re signing. For example, if you’re asking a question, your facial expressions should match as if you’re asking a question.

Using sign language is a wonderful way to be more inclusive and considerate of those around us who may be deaf or hard of hearing. When you know the basics of sign language, you can help to support others and be there as a resource for someone in need. Learn more at: