Download a printable practice sheet for the following numbers exercises. You may also use this sheet with tracing paper to trace these letters.
Download a blank printable practice sheet.
The German number 1 almost always has a diagonal stroke coming out of the top left of the main stem. This diagonal stroke may extend as far as the midline or even the baseline.
(Click on the letter to animate it.)
The 2 starts with a downward loop that extends diagonally to the left until the baseline, and then culminates in a curved upward and downward loop in the shape of a horizontal s.
This number, like the letter z, is formed by two loops, one on top of the other. There might be a small loop in the middle where the two big loops connect. To differentiate it from a 5, look for the top loop which always curves to the left.
The German number 4 is formed by an L-shaped stroke over the midline intersecting a main vertical stem. Sometimes the L-shaped stroke goes under the midline and may even almost touch the baseline.
Starting at the top with a backward loop, the 5 extends up to the midline in a straight line and then loops upward and forward until it touches the baseline. The big loop on the bottom is usually proportional to the upper part of the number. More often than not, the German Script 5 is very slanted. To avoid confusion with the 3, always look for a loop that extends to the right.
This number is written as a single line that starts at the top and then curves downward and to the right, forming a closed loop at the midline. Sometimes this loop does not close completely.
One of the main characteristics of the German number 7 is the "roof" extending to the upper left of the main stem. This roof looks something like a horizontal s, or perhaps a backward loop with a descending diagonal line to the left. The cross-stroke at the midline is optional, and for this reason the 7 might be confused sometimes with 9.
This number is usually a continuous set of two closed loops, one on top of the other. The top loop might not always be completely closed.
Occasionally this number might be confused with the number 7. The only difference is that the upper loop in the 9 is always closed.
Please consult pp. 22-23 of Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents: Analyzing German, Latin, and French in Vital Records Written in Germany by Roger P. Minert (GRT Publications: Provo, Utah, USA, 2001) for further descriptions and examples of the preceding letters.