American Sign Language For Dummies with Online Videos
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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.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Adan R. Penilla II, PhD, NIC, NAD IV, CI/CT, SC:L, ASLTA, teaches American Sign Language at Colorado State University and is a freelance interpreter for the Colorado court system. Angela Lee Taylor has taught ASL for Pikes Peak Community College and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

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