Learning the individual letters of the alphabet and putting them together to form words is quite a leap. Fingerspelling is a skill that takes a lot of time and effort to master. Especially if you want to fingerspell as fluently as Deaf people do.
There's only one way to reach that level of fluency--practice, practice, and more practice. So, let's go ahead and get started!
Some important things to know:
- There are TWO separate skills involved with fingerspelling (and with signing): One is receptive skills. This is the ability to READ fingerspelling/signing. Two is expressive skills. This is the ability to PRODUCE fingerspelling/signing. You develop receptive skills by watching signing as much as you can. You develop expressive skills by signing as much as you can. So, while watching the videos, SIGN along with them to develop BOTH skills.
- Remember to keep the hand in close line-of-sight with the face. Usually this will mean you should keep your elbow down at your side.
- Don't bounce your hand. Hold it steady. BoUnCiNg YoUr HaNd MaKeS iT dIfFiCuLt tO wAtcH. Much like using alternating caps in the previous sentence makes it difficult to read. Steady hand, no bouncing. And don't forget, relax! Relax...
- Spell OUTWARDS from your body. Usually you'll simply keep your hand in one place. Occasionally there will be situations where your hand will move while fingerspelling, for example, when there are double letters, when spelling the title of something, etc. If that's the case move the hand away from the body, not across your chest. If you're left-handed, you'll spell right-to-left, not left-to-right.
- Making spaces between words--How do you show the end of one word and the beginning of another? A slight pause between words is all that is needed.
Ok, let's get started! Don't forget--sign along with me!
[Psst! Hey, want the answers to this video? Sign up for Month One!]