X in sign language

A manual alphabet, as part of a sign language, is used for fingerspelling people's names and foreign words of a spoken/written language.

X in ASL alphabet

The letter X in American Sign Language is formed in "clawed 1" handshape.

Definition: The 24th letter of the alphabet in English and American manual alphabet, a consonant.

Pronunciation (sign description): The forefinger or index finger of a dominant hand is hooked while the other fingers and thumb is in its 'fist' form. The orientation of the palm faces left if dominantly right-handed in its standalone as a letter.

Naturally, the orientation may be variant in fingerspelling due to naturally occurring co-articulation, meaning a letter may be affected by the previous and the next letter in, as I call it, "cursive" fingerspelling.

Handshape X/1-claw activity game

List as many ASL words that start with the dominant-handed handshape X (or 1-claw) as you can before you take a peer some possible words below.


Some possible answers: RED, PICK-ON, SUSPICIOUS, WITNESS, MINE (as in excavation in the earth), TIME, TEASE,...

Baby signing X

The handshapes "X" and "1" are largely related in its handshape family, yet the gap between them in ASL language acquisition is big.

First, the gestural pointing with the index finger emerged at 6-9 months as commonly found in babies, whether they sign or not. Then, "1" handshape in ASL words months later. Then "X" handshape emerge few more months later.

In a case study of baby Juli in my documentation, the "1" handshape emerged in ASL words at about 15-16 months (the earliest at 12 months in COOKIE with a handshape error). Immediately after the other handshapes "O", "B" (with the controlled thumb inside the palm), and "D", the handshape "X" as in a letter emerged at 22 months.

The "X" handshape is easy for adult beginners but not for babies. Because, it involves proximalization in which kids develop a physical coordination from shoulder to elbow to wrist to finger to knuckles in sign language. Babies can manipulate objects with their hands, but it doesn't mean they can pronounce ASL words, just like hearing babies can eat but it doesn't mean they can speak English words perfectly.

Manual alphabets around the world

As sign languages of Deaf people are different around the world, there are different manual alphabets throughout the world. Except, some signed language that are different do share a similar manual alphabet.

X letter in BSL
X letter in BSL

The letter X in the British manual alphabet, part of British Sign Language (BSL), Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and New Zealand Sign Language.

On the other hand, French Sign Language (LSF) and American Sign Language (ASL) share the similar manual alphabet; although, these modern signed languages are different today, even though Old ASL was descended, in most part, from Old LSF in the 19th century.

Related words

Previous letter: W and next letter Y.


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 X

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

~~ Feeling lucky? ¯\(°_o)/¯ Random word ~~