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ASL: How to Sign the Alphabet

American Sign Language (ASL) signers use the manual alphabet all the time, especially beginners. People’s names, at first, and some words need to be fingerspelled — spelling words using the manual alphabet.

So, as a beginner, feel free to fingerspell any word you don’t know the sign for. If you want to fingerspell two or more words in a row such as a title, or first and last name of someone, pause for just a second between each word.

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Don’t worry about being slow at fingerspelling. Clarity is the goal, not speed. Silently mouth the letters while you fingerspell them. Doing so helps you to control your speed, because you’re concentrating more on the letters.

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