Signs for ALPHABET

This 'alphabet' word entry in the ASL dictionary shows you 1) how to sign the English word "alphabet" in ASL, 2) how to fingerspell the alphabet down below with a few resource links, 3) how a child develops the handshapes for the ABCs.

ASL signs for 'alphabet'

How do you sign "alphabet" and "alphabetical" in ASL (American Sign Language)?

Meaning: A set of letters or other characters with which one or more languages are written especially if arranged in a customary order; ABC's.


Definition: arranged in the order of the letters of the alphabet; from A to Z.

Related signs in the ASL dictionary: LANGUAGE, LETTER, FINGERSPELL.

Sign language alphabets

Just as sign languages are not universal, manual alphabets around the world are not the same. As signed languages are independent from spoken languages from grammar to structure, the manual alphabets are used to fingerspell people’s names , brand names, and other spoken/written words of spoken languages that don't have signed words in signed languages.

Open the ASL alphabet chart to learn how to fingerspell the American manual alphabet used by Deaf people in North America or the BSL alphabet chart to practice the British manual alphabet which is used by Deaf signers in the U.K. (British Sign Language), Australia (Australian Sign Language a.k.a. Auslan), and New Zealand (New Zealand Sign Language.

This fingerspelling interactive activity allows you practice your receptive skill in ASL fingerspelling by watching the videos and entering your answers.

Toddler fingerspelling ABCs

By age 3.5 to 4 or so, ASL-speaking children may able to not only fingerspell the ABCs, but also be able to form the manual letters correctly.

In the video, this bilingual ASL-speaking kid fingerspells from A to Z during her natural language development.

Tips for hearing learners, don't sign "and" between Y and Z -- one of some examples of "hearing culture".

Also, don't sign (pronounce) Z the opposite way. Move it in the same way you write Z, from the left to the right side from a signer's perspective.

And, a big emphasis here. Don't bounce your hand when fingerspelling letter by letter.

Anecdote: A to Z fingerspelling contest

In my teen years in a swim club, my hearing teammates, who regularly communicated with me via fingerspelling mostly, were fast enough, but unsurprisingly slow at reading fingerspelling.

At swim meets long between races, swimmates often keep themselves entertained to pass the time. There were times when they would boast to their hearing mates by demonstrating how fast they could fingerspell from A to Z, until the first time they saw how zoom I fingerspelled. Their eyes were blown away. :D

Then they competed against one another who could fingerspell A to Z the fastest without missing a letter. They got in trouble when they challenged me. Naturally, I always made sure I beat them all the times, especially with a high of fingerspelling reading skill that I could watch how far they went and I made sure I kept a letter or so ahead of them. Or, I could catch them if they missed any alphabetical letter. On the other hand, they couldn't catch any missing letter if needed. :D And, I used what I call it, "cursive fingerspelling".

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