ASL Lessons | Bookstore | Library | ASL University Main ►
Fingerspelling 1: Introduction | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | Lexicalized | Font | Quizzes | Practice
Mouthing while fingerspelling:
Many Deaf people move their lips while fingerspelling. Many don't. It is okay either way. If I were to go out and secretly videotape hundreds of Deaf people having ASL conversations there is no doubt in my mind that I would capture many, many instances of English words being mouthed while being fingerspelled.
Certainly not all signers do it—and those that do mouth fingerspelled words certainly don't do so all the time, but it occurs often enough to make a case that it indeed happens.
Many Deaf people read the lips of a person who is fingerspelling. So it is important that if you are going to mouth words you should do so naturally instead of letter by letter.
When you fingerspell a word, try to say the whole word in your mind and/or on your lips instead of naming each individual letter.
Don't pronounce on your tongue the individual letters but to say (to yourself so others can't hear) the word and let the fingers join in. Mouth the whole word as it is pronounced in everyday speech. Do not pronounce a bunch of individual letters strung together.
For example, if you were spelling "pool" your lips should be pronouncing an "oo" sound not two "o" sounds. For example, when spelling the Spanish pronunciation of the name "Jose" if I were to read your lips I should see an "H" instead of a "J" because "Jose" is pronounced with an "H" sound, not a "J."
In a message dated 11/17/2006 12:32:43 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, chn@ up in Canada writes:
How do you spell a space between words when finger spelling? Or do you just pause?
For example, "Ilovecats" = I love cats.
(I really do, I have had my oldest cat half my life - yes she really is 30 in human years - tragically she now has cancer of the jaw, and I'm palliating her by spoon feeding her, giving meds and drip IV) Are any periods or commas etc., ever used in signing?
Dear Cat Lover,
To indicate a space between fingerspelled words, you simply insert a very small pause between letters.
Skilled ASL signers rarely spell more than two words in a row. We use fingerspelling around 7 or 8 percent of the time while communicating. In the vast majority of cases the fingerspelling is for isolated words, not strings of words. Beginners often worry about how to spell several words in a row because they rely so heavily on spelling, but those who are conversationally fluent it is not an issue. While ASL does have signs for period, comma, and related punctuation, we only use those signs during English class or for discussions about English. We do not use separate signs to punctuate our sentences. Instead we punctuate our sentences with pauses, facial expressions, head-tilts, shoulder raises, and other non-manual markers (body language).
Notes: Fingerspelling 1: Introduction | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | Lexicalized | Font | Quizzes | Practice
* Want to help support ASL University? It's easy: DONATE (Thanks!)
* Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."
* Want even more ASL resources? Visit the "ASL Training Center!" (Subscription Extension of ASLU)
* Also check out Dr. Bill's channel: www.youtube.com/billvicars
You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars