F in sign language

There are different manual alphabets around the world. Sign language alphabets are used for fingerspelling spoken/written words, people's names, brand names, etc. that don't have the signs.

F in ASL alphabet

The ASL alphabet is part of American Sign Language (ASL) natively developed and used by Deaf people in the U.S. and Canada.

Definition: The sixth letter of the English alphabet, a consonant.

Pronunciation (sign description): Held in space with the palm facing outward, dominant forefinger (index finger) and thumb formed in a hole while the rest of the fingers (middle finger, ring finger, and pinkie) stand upright.

Learner tip: Not to mix up F with D for beginners (very common on the first day of ASL class).

Handshape F/9 activity game

List as many ASL words that start with the dominant-handed handshape F/9 as you can think of before you take a peer at some possible words below. An example to begin with: SOON.



Homonyms: F-letter and 9-number

Are F and 9 the same in ASL?

Poor ASL 101 student Leroy has had sleepless nights, musing one of the most mysteries in the universe since he was struck helpless during his recent quiz. He asked Deaf ASL-native instructor in ASL (translated as), "Hey, on my last quiz, I realized that I couldn't tell the difference between F and 9. How would one know?"

The instructor was astounded of this yet another pair of ordinary homophones. Speechless, she replied in ASL (translated as): "Oh... I've never noticed." She resorted to the safe, all-solution answer, "Context, context, context" like "location, location, location" when you hunt your choosiest house to buy.

Exaggeration aside, learn more about homonyms in sign language.

Baby signing F

In early language development (phonological acquisition) in ASL, the handshape F emerges somewhere in the middle of the phases. Development may vary from child to child.

In a case study of baby Juli from my documentation, she was able to form the letter W but not yet fluently formed the letter F at age 2;0. At age 2;1, whenever she signed the ASL words such as CAT, FOX, and many other signed words, she tried to form the handshape F, but ended up with the handshape "W" in these ASL words. At age 2;9, she began to form the handshape F in some ASL signs such as find and tea. At age 3;0, she formed the handshape F fluently whenever producing ASL words such as CAT and later FRUIT.

Other manual alphabets

The two-handed British alphabet is different from the American manual alphabet. The BSL alphabet is part of British Sign Language used by the Deaf people in U.K., New Zealand Sign Language, and Australian Sign Language (also known as Auslan). ASL is a descendant of Old French Sign Language (Old LSF) naturally developed by the French Deaf signers.

F in BSL
F in BSL alphabet

Description: Two horizontal palm-down "H" hands with its dominant fingers on top of non-dominant fingers.

Related links

Previous letter: E and next letter G.


Written ASL

[Note: ASL writing is not an official standard. This sign language writing remains in a state of open space to allow room for experiment, evolution, and improvement.]

How to write ASL for letter F

Written ASL digit for the alphabetical letter F. [Contributed by ASLwrite, 2019]

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