A in Sign Language – Video & Image Included
Today, we’re going to learn how to spell A in sign language. You might be wondering what we said ‘spell’ instead of ‘say’.
It’s because that’s what we actually do when we learn sign language. If you belong to the deaf community or have interacted with deaf people, you may already be familiar with the concept of the sign language alphabet. It’s a collection of hand movements to spell out words or individual letters.
To say ‘A’ in sign language, we’ll have to use the fingerspelling alphabet or manual alphabet.
Fingerspelling is unlike anything in spoken languages. There are some signs for the words like ‘A’ where we spell individual letters. Word order is one of the reasons why sometimes we have to switch to the manual alphabet.
So let’s start.
But before we begin, a little reminder: there are many sign languages like American Sign Language ASL and British Sign Language BSL. ASL, for example, uses one hand for their manual alphabet, while BSL uses both hands to spell out these alphabets. So the signs are different despite sharing the same spoken language.
However, in this case, we’ll just cover BSL here.
A in Sign Language
Take a look at the video below. You don’t have to go to the school for the deaf to understand it. Don’t be concerned if it seems to pass too quickly either.
We’ll go through each stage in further detail below.
Now, proceed as follows. As we mentioned earlier, BSL is a two-handed sign language. As a result, you will communicate with both of your hands.
However, there are signs where we use our dominant hand for a gesture and use our non-dominant hand to complete the sign as a whole. As a result, avoid switching your dominant hand mid-sign. This will baffle the person to whom you are signing.
1. Start with a normal posture. Remember to sign in front of your chest so the person you’re communicating with can clearly see your hands. Your facial expressions also play a crucial role here as they can convey additional information like emotions and helping gestures in the form of facial expressions.
2. For our purposes, let’s call your non-dominant hand the “base hand”. To sign A, connect your base hand’s thumb together with your dominant hand’s index finger.
3. If you keep all the other fingers spread like the image above, keep the back of your base hand’s back towards you with the palm facing the one you’re signing to.
4. Say the letter/word as you’re signing it.
That’s it. That’s the whole sign. Now you might be wondering that the letter ‘A’ in English is a vowel.
So, does BSL have vowels too?
Yes, it does. In fact, the sign ‘A’ in BSL is one of the five vowels. You can sign each of them in their own unique way too. In fact, each of your base hand’s fingers symbolises a vowel in the following order: A (thumb), ‘E’ (index), ‘I’ (middle), ‘O’ (ring), ‘U’ (pinky).
Additionally, you can also opt only to touch the finger that has to be touched and fold the others. Take a look at the video below.
You’ll see in the video that he has chosen to fold all of the fingers that are not taking part in signing the letter ‘A’. So folding or spreading your other fingers is not a matter of concern here. We’ve attached a screenshot above for reference. Look at his hands.
However, do keep in mind that if you choose to keep all your other fingers spread, make sure that the person you’re communicating with can see the fingers that you are using in signing clearly.
So, that’s how we spell A in sign language. Check that the person you’re speaking with can properly see you. If the signer’s movements aren’t particularly prominent, anyone may easily misinterpret the meaning. Also, remember to keep a friendly smile on your face. It’ll help you connect better. If you want to remember the sign, stick to a consistent practice routine; otherwise, you risk forgetting it over time.