American manual alphabet

ASL letter AASL letter SASL letter L

The one-handed American sign language alphabet is a set of 26 manual alphabetical letters, corresponding to the English alphabet. It is used to fingerspell a string of the alphabetical letters of a certain English word, person's name, etc.

There are different manual alphabets around the world. The American manual alphabet with a few modifications is derived from the French manual alphabet of the 18th century. Its cognates can be found in other signed languages' manual alphabets. For example, the German and American manual alphabets are similar; however, ASL and German Sign Language are completely different. For tips, see the bottom.

You can download the poster (pdf) of American Manual Alphabet.

ASL sign language alphabet chart

Those images show what you're seeing as a listener. As a right-handed signer, you'd see the back of those images.

A

ASL Alphabet A

b

ASL Alphabet A

C

ASL Alphabet A

Tip: Pay attention to the thumb for A and S.

D

ASL Alphabet A

E

ASL Alphabet A

F

ASL Alphabet A

Learner tip: Be aware of the common confusion between F and D. Pay attention to D and F when you spell one of them.

Tip: Make sure your E is clear, keeping the thumb away from the index finger to avoid slipping it into O.

G

ASL Alphabet A

H

ASL Alphabet A

I

ASL Alphabet A

J

ASL Alphabet A

K

ASL Alphabet A

L

ASL Alphabet A

Tip: K and P have different upward/downward palm orientation.

M

ASL Alphabet A

N

ASL Alphabet A

O

ASL Alphabet A

Tip: Pay attention to the thumb for M and N.

P

ASL Alphabet A

Q

ASL Alphabet A

R

ASL Alphabet A

Tip: K and P have different upward/downward palm orientation.

S

ASL Alphabet A

T

ASL Alphabet A

Tip: Pay attention to the thumb for A and S.

Tip: Pay attention to the thumb for T that is different from M and N.

U

ASL Alphabet A

V

ASL Alphabet A

W

ASL Alphabet A

X

ASL Alphabet A

Y

ASL Alphabet A

Z

ASL Alphabet A

Minimal pairs: fingerspelling exercise

Practice and develop your fingerspelling receptive skill. Watch some minimal pairs of the fingerspelled English words. Most pairs are three-letter and four-letter words with one letter difference between the two words. Choose one of the two versions: beginner and intermediate.

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Tips on improving receptive skill

Is it fingerspelling too fast? That's what you are here for. :) To train your eyes with the real world of fingerspelling in ASL signing in daily life. Use the replay button to repeat and repeat. Use the 'slow' button when needed.

Avoid looking at the individual alphabetical letters. Look at the configuration of a fingerspelled word -- its shape and movement. In language learning, one learns the patterns of language.

Practice, practice, and practice. Sharpen your receptive skill. It's about picking up the patterns of the ASL language. That works the same with listening to English words.

Related posts

Fingerspelling techniques and tips

Interactive receptive fingerspelling practice

New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be useful for intermediate-level learners and ASL students to review as well.

Some tutorial pages are a mix of free and premium versions. Access to premium content and links below are available in the PatronPlus subscription. More links/posts will be added from time to time.

Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)