# Nominal vs Cardinal numbers in ASL

Cherie Wren cwterp at YAHOO.COM
Mon Feb 9 01:33:33 UTC 2009

```The ASL number system is actually MUCH more complicated than English, and has more options than just nominal and cardinal.  What you are talking about, numbers 1-5 turned palm in to body, are actually quantifiers... numbers as adjectives.  Nominals, numbers as nouns, look differently depending on the type of noun.  A social security number and a 10 digit phone number have specific patterns in ASL that are different than the patterns of English.  Numbers in addresses are different:"  instead of English 4-6-7-5 (four six seven five) for the street number 4675, in ASL it would be 46-75 (forty six- seventy five).

Money numbers is a whole different set, so your 2 cents, Adam, is neither cardinal nor nominal.  While technically I guess it would be nominal, in practical use it is a "unique system".  We haven't even thrown ordinal numbers into the mix, and ASL does those in several different ways too, depending on what you are talking about.  When I teach numbers, I start with cardinal, with nominal as a subset of cardinal, then all the "unique systems" such as money, quantifiers, and classifier numbers (a 42 on a football jersey), then ordinal systems last.

I vote for page numbers to be simple palm out from the body...  cardinal.  Now we are tied again.  Numbers palm in to the body for 1-5, quantifiers, are not appropriate for page numbers, in my opinion.

cherie, giving about \$2 worth, more than you want, I know.  (make sure you twist the two, now-- that is one of the "unique systems")  ::grin::

________________________________
From: Valerie Sutton <sutton at signwriting.org>
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Sent: Sunday, February 8, 2009 3:43:28 PM
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Nominal vs Cardinal numbers in ASL

SignWriting List
February 8, 2009

Thank you, Adam, for this really good explanation of the problem...and for your vote for nominal. That has always been my feeling too...

However, around four months ago I had a long discussion with another native ASL signer about this and that person voted for the cardinal...so if you count my vote, then we have one cardinal and two nominal, but i am not native or Deaf...so we need more opinions, or maybe test readers and ask them to search for pages in the book only using ASL numbers to see which works best for them finding the pages fast...

Any others have opinions on nominal or cardinal page numbers in ASL?

Val ;-)

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On Feb 8, 2009, at 12:01 PM, Adam Frost wrote:

> A very fine line here because page numbers are counted pages which number the page with a label. They are often used as both interchangeably mostly because English doesn't distinguish between both and most people don't know the difference. When thinking about how I usually refer to pages, I usually use the cardinal form as I am basically saying "turn 5 pages from the beginning" verses "turn to page 5" which would use the nominal form. However, I think that we are actually labeling the page as "Page 5" so I think that in this case it should be nominals that are used. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth. (Hmm... would that 2 be cardinal or nominal? Ha!) ;-)
>
>
> On Feb 8, 2009, at 11:40 AM, SignWriting wrote:
>
>> SignWriting List
>> February 8, 2009
>>
>> Hi SW Listers!
>> I need your advice. Most ASL numbers are the same whether they are nominal or cardinal, but there are five that are different....the first five numbers are cardinal inside a sentence, but nominal when telling people your phone number, your apartment number etc...I believe that is correct anyway ;-))
>>
>> In other words, the cardinal is part of meaning in a sentence, but the nominal is like a "label"...like stating your Social Security Number (a long number that represents a person in the US)...if it has a lot of "ones"...like 111-897-1102...or something like that...I don't believe the palm turns towards the chest when stating your Social Security Number, does it?
>>
>> So when reading tiny tiny page numbers at the bottom of pages in a 500 page SignWriting book, should the page numbers be nominal or cardinal? I have always felt that the page numbers were like "labels" for finding a page quickly...but others have disagreed with me...meanwhile most people do not have a lot of experience reading large books in SignWriting yet, including myself, so we all are guessing a bit... It may really be a matter of all of us getting used to this, and figuring out, by testing readers, who can find page 1 faster...when it is nominal or cardinal? smile...
>>
>> I am updating our old Goldilocks documents with the symbols of the ISWA and while I am doing that update anyway, I wondered about the page numbers...They were nominal in the old documents.
>>
>> Should page numbers be nominal or cardinal? Please see attached...
>>
>>
>>
>> <Nominal-Cardinal.png>
>>
>>
>>
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