Alphabet in Sign Language – Video & Image Include
So, today’s topic: alphabet in sign language. There are many sign languages out there like American Sign Language ASL, British Sign Language BSL and so on. We’re just going to discuss today’s topic for BSL only.
We can look at our topic in two ways.
- Sign language alphabets
- The word ‘alphabet’ in BSL.
We’re going to cover both of these topics here.
So, let’s get started.
Table of Content
Alphabet in Sign Language
BSL alphabets are one of the first things you’ll learn in your sign language journey. They are useful in many aspects, for example, to spell out the names of people.
That’s because there is no sign for the names of people. If your name is Christian Doyle. Although there is a sign for the word ‘Christian’, in this case it’s a name, not the word christian which is associated with religious belief.
Therefore, if we have to say your full name in BSL, we’ll have to use the BSL alphabet to spell out your name. There are 26 alphabets in English. The same is the case for BSL.
We’ll now give you a comprehensive idea of how to sign them. To learn the BSL alphabet, you’ll first have to get acquainted with the term ‘fingerspelling’.
Fingerspelling is the use of one’s hands to represent individual letters of a written alphabet. However, fingerspelling is not the same as sign language.
In BSL, most words have a sign. Thus, you would sign the word rather than individual letters. It does, however, help signers in manually spelling out names of persons, places, and objects that do not have an established sign. So the alphabet has various applications-
There are no signs for names, so you have to fingerspell them.
- Spell out words that don’t have a sign. Most sign languages, for example, have a specific sign for the word tree but may not have an oak symbol, so o-a-k would be fingerspelled to convey that specific meaning.
- Fingerspell words for which you are unclear about the symbol. If you don’t know the sign for a given word, you can communicate by fingerspelling it.
- Because acronyms such as “BSL” (British Sign Language) cannot be signed, the British Sign Language alphabet might be handy for spelling them out.
- Many terms in British Sign Language use alphabet letters, such as Monday, which is signed “M day.”
So, these are some typical usage for the BSL alphabet. Now we’re going to show you how to sign them.
How to Sign BSL Alphabet
It makes no difference which hand we use to sign. However, we usually use our dominant hand. If you’re right handed, use your right hand and vice versa. Your non-dominant hand is referred to as the base hand.
Also, remember to keep it constant. Swapping dominant and base hands in the middle of a sentence will confuse the person you are signing to.
Now, consider your dominant hand to be the pen, and your base hand to be the paper. It will help you master the sign procedure faster.
We’ll show you some images here that are fit for a right-hander. If you are a left-hander, just simply replicate the process for your left hand as the dominant hand.
Signing the Letter A and the Vowels
To sign A, bring your base hand’s thumb together with your dominant hand’s index finger.
Each of your base hand’s fingers represents a vowel in the following order: A (thumb), ‘E’ (index), ‘I’ (middle), ‘O’ (ring), ‘U’ (pinky). Only touch the finger that has to be touched and fold the others.
Make an ‘O’ shape with your fingers in both of your hands. Join your hands to form a binocular shape.
Make a pattern that looks like the letter ‘C’ with your dominant hand’s index finger and thumb. Fold the remaining fingers inwards.
Raise the index finger of your base hand. Touch the tip of this finger with your dominant hand’s index finger. Press the base hand’s index finger knuckle against the dominant hand’s thumb.
To sign E, touch the tip of your base hand’s index finger to the tip of your dominant index finger. Fold the dominant hand’s other fingers.
Place your dominant hand’s index and middle fingers on your base hand’s. Fold the other fingers on both hands.
Make a fist with both hands, thumbs tucked in, and lay your dominant fist on top of your base fist to sign G. It will appear that you are holding a pepper grinder.
Open the palm of the base hand facing up. Place the palm of your dominant hand on the palm of your base hand. Stroke your right hand forward, from your wrist to your fingertips. It’s similar to wiping dust off your palm.
To sign I, spread your base palm and place your dominant index finger on the middle finger of your other hand.
If you wish to sign the word ‘I,’ simply point to yourself.
Spread your base palm open, with fingers pointing upwards. Move your right index finger down from the tip of your left middle finger to its thumb. Trace it as you would a letter ‘J’ on your hand.
Point your base hand upwards, then bend your dominant index finger and press it on the base index finger.
Face your base palm upward and open. The dominant index finger is placed in the centre of your base palm, with the other fingers folded within your fist.
Place your dominant ring, middle, and index fingers on the palm of your base hand.
Hold out your base palm and place your dominant index and middle fingers on its centre.
Place your dominant index finger on the tip of your base ring finger while holding your base palm out.
Form a circle with your dominant index and thumb. Make a ‘P’ shape with the tip of the base index finger.
Make a circle with your base thumb and finger, then hook your dominant index finger to your base thumb.
Curl your dominant hand’s index finger and place it on the palm of your base hand.
Spread your base palm and lock your base pinky finger to your dominant one.
Keep your bottom hand open, palm up. With your dominant index fingertip, press the palm.
Place your dominant index finger on the base pinky finger’s tip.
With your dominant hand, form a ‘V’, sort of like the triumph symbol. Place the triumph symbol on your open palm.
Interlock the fingers of your both hands and point them up diagonally.
Except for the index fingers, curl all of the fingers on both hands. Make a cross with the index fingers, pointing diagonally up.
Place your dominant index finger between your base thumb and index finger.
Spread both your palms. Touch the centre of your base palm with the fingers of your dominant hand. Maintain a nearly parallel posture between your dominant hand and the ground.
So, that’s all the alphabet in BSL.
Signing the Word ‘Alphabet’
Okay, now we’re going to discuss how you’re going to sign the word ‘alphabet’. Watch the video we’re linking down below. The follow these steps:
1. Make a heart shape with both your hands. Keep your hands close to the side of your chest.
2. Now, just swipe the shape to the other side of your chest.
That’s the entire process. It’s a straightforward sign.
So, that’s alphabet in sign language. Ensure that they have a steady, continuous tempo when signing. It will make it easier for people to understand you. Sign in front of your chest so the person seeing you sign will see your face and hands. One other very important tip, make sure your sign isn’t misinterpreted as something offensive.