Guide to Fingerspelling in Sign Language

Hannah Steines-Wolfson, Staff Writer

Everyday we speak. No matter where we live, we speak. However, we do not often think about those who do not speak, simply because they can not or just will not.

Sign language is a speech-free language used by the deaf, the friends and family of the deaf, mutes (people who don’t speak out of free will), and people who just want to know how to.

Though near everybody knows of this language, not too many know how to use it. With this guide, you will be able to fingerspell using the entire alphabet. The sign language alphabet is often used when someone doesn’t know the word for something and just spells it out instead.

To get you started on finger spelling, here is a summary of the signs for the alphabet:

A: fist with thumb pointed upwards, to the side of the hand

B: high five with thumb on palm and all other fingers together

C: hand forms a letter c

D: pointer finger up; rest of fingers on thumb

E: all fingers curled towards palm

F: okay sign

G: pointer finger and thumb pointed straight to the side all other fingers curved in

H: pointer and ring finger straight to the side; thumb behind pointer finger; rest of the fingers curved in

I: pinkie finger up, all others curved in

J: I that swoops into a j

K: pointer and ring fingered make a v with thumb in between them

L: form an L with pointer finger and thumb

M: fist with thumb in between index finger and pinkie

N: fist with thumb in between ring and middle finger

O: fingers curve to thumb to form an o shape

P: upside down sign for k

Q: upside down sign for g

R: pointer and ring finger crossed, thumb resting on other fingers

S: a fist with thumb across other fingers

T: fist with thumb between pointer and ring

U: pointer and ring finger up together with other fingers down

V: a peace sign

W: holding up three fingers – pointer, ring, and middle

X: hook your pointer finger with all other fingers down

Y: thumb and pinkie extended outwards with other fingers in

Z: pointer finger makes a z in the air

In order to finger spell, just spell out what you want to say with the letters above; pausing briefly before continuing on to the next word or sentence.