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A Simple Guide to Fingerspelling

Fingerspelling is an important piece of American Sign Language and often the first set of gestures individuals practice when learning sign language. Below is the basic fingerspelling alphabet.

Fingerspelling Alphabet


Fingerspelling is the manual alphabet in American Sign Language and is comprised of 22 one-hand gestures which represent the 26 letters. It is performed by signing letters with the dominant hand at shoulder-height. Fingerspelling is generally used to spell out names, people, places and other things that don't have a particular sign associated with them, such as name brands, titles of books and movies.

When fingerspelling, letters should be signed at a constant speed with a pause functioning as a word divider. To indicate the same letter twice in a row the signer will bounce the signed letter. 

To learn more about the history of sign language, read some fun facts and see the fingerspelling alphabet in infographic form, check out the image below.


fingerspelling guide

To download a copy of this graphic, click here.

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