Practice, learn, and memorize the sign language alphabet (known as the American Manual Alphabet) is the best way for people to start out with. Without fingerspelling, you wouldn’t be able to learn or use American Sign Language.
The fingerspelling for signing correct nouns (like your name, book titles, movies, cities, and states) is essential, grammatically, because it enables you to have it as a back up in case you’re unable to describe the word with signs nor gestures.
For instance, if a person knows how to fingerspell but couldn’t remember a sign – he or she can ask, “What’s the sign for ‘X’?” A deaf or hard-of-hearing then will respond with a sign back to him or her with ease.
American Sign Language comes with its own vocabulary, syntax, and grammar – so be sure to check out our Online Courses where you’re able to learn how to sign correctly in ASL while having fun!
Here’s your free resource to kickstart your fingerspelling skills!
Here are additional resources you may want to check out!
Tips for how to correctly fingerspell the alphabet:
- Keep your dominant hand in an upright position comfortably, and in front of your shoulder with your palm facing forward, except for the following letters: “C,” “G,” “H,” and “O” as the palm needs to face sideways.
- Keep your hand in one place while fingerspelling – it can take practice but it’ll help make it clearer for others to read.
- Maintain pace with consistency as there is no need for you to race through when spelling a word.
- Mouth each word as you fingerspell it – not each letter. Make sure to give a quick pause between words.
- For word with double letters, open your hand slightly between the letters (e.g., “A”) and open letters like “B,” and “L,” – move your hand slightly to the right with a small bounce for the second letter.
- Avoid wearing jewelry that may distract you and others from your signing, including long or excessively decorated nails.