Learn ASL in 31 Days: Day 6:: Indexing + Practice Sheet

Welcome to the sixth day!  You're going to learn indexing today. Say what?!


You've been dying to learn ASL forever! Now you can! You'll learn not only vocabulary, but also grammar and all the skills the go along with ASL. For FREE! Pin so you can have easy access to all 31 lessons. | Learn all about indexing and find out why it's so important to know.


Did you miss Day 5?  It was a nice easy lesson!  Go back and watch it if you missed it. Remember, there's no such thing as falling behind!


What the heck is indexing?

Well now, that's a good question.


Okay okay... I'll answer it.


Watch the video and then I'll go more into depth here.  Once you see it the directions below will be much clearer,


I pretty promise! With cherries and sprinkles on top!


>>>Turn on the captions!!  If you are viewing on a tablet or phone you can click this link to view it in YouTube. <<< 


Remember to put on the captions. There are no sounds, so you have to have the captions on! 



Indexing is when you point your finger -- your index finger -- at a person you're talking about.  Sometimes that person is there, sometimes they aren't.  


It's called either present referent or absent referent.


Present = they're there.

Absent = they're not there.



If they are there, you can just point to them and people will know whether it's a HE or SHE (well, most of the time ;) ).

For IT you just point to the object



  1. If they are not there you first spell their name, use their name sign, or do both.
  2. Then you point to them -- with your index finger -- in a space to your right or left. Now you have a reference (or referent) for that person.

Now, each time you go to talk about that person you just point to that same spot.


If they were there (sitting in a chair, standing in your group, in the room) and then left you can reference to where they were. I wouldn't go crazy with it if they were in an inconvenient location!



Say you want to reference two or more people. You are a busy busy bee!  Hopefully you're saying nice things...


You would just set up their space as they are introduced into the conversation.


Say you're talking about Betty, John, and Bob.


Betty comes up first.


Here's what you do:


BETTY (+ sign name) + index to the right, just to your side (no need for pointing out into the abyss).


Then you're gabbing away when John's part of the story comes up.


Here's what you do:


JOHN (maybe he doesn't have a sign name) + index to the left, just across your body, at close range again.


Gab away, you reference back to Betty and John a bit, but wait!  Bob said something to Betty that was just too funny you have to share the story.


Here's what you do: 


BOB (+ sign name) + index to a different spot, probably to your right (or the side of your dominant hand), but take care that it's not Betty's spot!

So, your middle-right side area.


Now. If you just have a ton of people to talk about I wouldn't do more than 3 or 4 index spots at a time.  You and the person you're talking to may lose track and confuse the conversation!


Can you imagine what that'd do?  That's how rumors get started people!


If you talked about Betty and John, but it was a good while later in your conversation and you haven't brought them up again and don't plan on it, you can set up Bob and put him in Betty's old spot.


Is that confusing?  I hope not!


If all else fails point!!



You would use YOU-ALL as the sign for THEY/THEM/THOSE.  This can also be indexed for a specific group.


There are more signs for plurals that I haven't taught you yet!  Don't worry about it. Breathe. This lesson isn't as hard as it sounds  reads.


Take a break

Now, I know I told you at the beginning of all this that I would give you some practice sheets and there'd be games.  Ne'r you fret, the games are on their way in the coming lessons. The practice sheets are here today!


I needed to wait until the indexing lesson before I could give you some good practice sentences to try out.  Indexing is used so often that it just wouldn't be fun if you didn't know how to do it.


I also didn't teach them to you at the beginning of the week because I wanted to give you some fun signs and lots of great vocabulary to play with.


Plus, I didn't want to scare you away!  Too late?  Come back!  I promise it's not going to kill you!!!


How do I get those practice sheets?

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You'll get all the practice sheets for the 31 lessons all week by week, as well as get reminders and bonus tips for each lesson. No more forgetting to learn and practice!

Wait just a tick...

There may be some signs on the practice sheets you might not know. Don't panic!


Here are two videos I made prior to ASL in 31 Days that include these signs.


Don't feel pressured to watch them, if you come to a sign on the practice sheet (you may already know it) that you don't know check these out. I'll even tell you which signs are in which video so you don't have to hunt them down.  I can be nice... sometimes.


The Top 10 ASL Signs You Need to Know

{no, yes, what, who, where, why, name, meet, learn, sign}


10 More ASL Signs You Need to Know

{understand, Deaf, hearing, meaning, like, nice, thank you, please, slow, again}


You've been dying to learn ASL forever! Now you can! You'll learn not only vocabulary, but also grammar and all the skills the go along with ASL. For FREE! Pin so you can have easy access to all 31 lessons



To get updated with each new lesson you can subscribe to the Learn ASL in 31 Days Newsletter, for free!  I have a practice sheet for Days 1 - 6 today!!

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You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and you can get the latest video a night early, plus never miss out on a new lesson!


How did you do today?