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Fingerspelling

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by

Lisa Koch

on 28 March 2014

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Transcript of Fingerspelling

Fingerspelling
• Fingerspelling is older than ASL.
• Fingerspelling first appeared in a book believed to be first book on deaf education.
• Published by Juan Pablo Bonet, a hearing Tutor of deaf children in Spain In 1620.
• Jacob Pereire, an oral teacher from Spain brought the one-handed alphabet to Paris where Abbe de l’Epee adopted it for use in his school.
• Laurent Clerc brought fingerspelling with him to the US, and used it in the first school for deaf children, founded 1817.

Some writers have suggested that the body and hands were used to represent alphabets in Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Assyrian antiquity. Certainly, "finger calculus" systems were widespread, and capable of representing numbers up to 10,000; they are still in use today in parts of the Middle East. The practice of substituting letters for numbers and vice versa, known as gematria, was also common, and it is possible that the two practices were combined to produce a finger calculus alphabet. The earliest known manual alphabet, described by the Benedictine monk Bede in 8th century Northumbria, did just that.[ While the usual purpose of the Latin and Greek finger alphabets described by Bede is unknown, they were unlikely to have been used by deaf people for communicationeven though Bede lost his own hearing later in life. Historian Lois Bragg concludes that these alphabets were "only a bookish game."

Fingerspelling is not always English
• Compare:
– A place where you buy nails, hammer, garden objects?
• H-A-R-D-W-A-R-E STORE
– Computers require software and…
• HARD + W-A-R-E

Pick up a person
. . with a pickup truck.

A good workout?
Did it work out okay

Fingerspelling
• European monks from at least the time of Bede have made use of forms of manual communication, including alphabetic gestures, for a number of reasons: communication among the monastery while observing vows of silence, administering to the ill, and as mnemonic devices. They also may have been used as ciphers for discreet or secret communication. Clear antecedents of many of the manual alphabets in use today can be seen from the 16th century in books published by friars in Spain and Italy. From the same time, monks such as the Benedictine Fray Pedro Ponce de León began tutoring deaf children of wealthy patrons — in some places, literacy was a requirement for legal recognition as an heir — and the manual alphabets found a new purpose. They were originally part of the earliest known Mouth Hand Systems. The first book on deaf education, published in 1620 by Juan Pablo Bonet in Madrid, included a detailed account of the use of a manual alphabet to teach deaf students to read and speak.
Mostly nouns are fingerspelled


• as well as some adjectives and prepositions.
ASL uses fingerspelling more extensively than other signed languages.
• Compared to other sign languages, ASL uses fingerspelling a lot!
• We fingerspell city names, names of Presidents, brand names, company names, automobile makes and many other words.
• Other sign languages translate these names into signs.
Fingerspelling is use by Deaf of all ages and backgrounds.
• Even signers with high school education use fingerspelling
• The difference is which words they fingerspell, not in the amount of fingerspelling
• Older deaf people fingerspell different words than younger deaf people, making their fingerspelling more noticeable (e.g. week, glad, man)
• Men and women are similar in how much they fingerspell. Maybe men fingerspell different words than women. (e.g. MY S-O-N)
Fingerspelling is used: even when there is already a sign!
• Some fingerspelled words are used even though there are signs for them:
– C-A-R
– L-O-V-E (noun only?)
– L-I-F-E
– R-E-N-T (“monthly rent”)
• Compare:
– RENT vs. R-E-N-T
– FREE vs. F-R-E-E

Not all compound words are fingerspelled.
snowball, paintball, eyeball
the New York skyline
Niagara Falls, waterfall
blackmail, blacklist, blackball
BlackBerry
bread rolls
payroll
Fingerspelling has fingerspelled/ sign compounds
• Softball

• deadline, timeline

• the water is falling

• Blackboard

• Blackberry

• rolling down the hill

• Paycheck


Fingerspelling cannot be separated from ASL
• Long history of fingerspelling in schools for the deaf in U.S.
• Many deaf leaders supported fingerspelling as defense against oralism
• ASL tends to use fingerspelling for new vocabulary
ASL abbreviations are not always the same as English abbreviations.
• M-I-N-N, M-D, M-I-C-H, M-O
– But Maine?
• V-W, M-B, B-M-W
• H-P, M-A-C
Different Hand Configurations
• Closed configuration A E G H M N O S T
o Get familiar with closed hand configuration will help with recognizing more words.
• Open Configuration B C D F I K L R U V W X Z
• Lower Configuration J P Q
The "Three Cs" of Fingerspelling
• Handshape Configuration
~Understanding a fingerspelled word by shape.
~Focus on seeing the word as a whole unit.
~There's lots of shape change in the fingerspelled word LAWYER. It will be easier to read compared to the fingerspelled word SEAT, which does not have much shape change.
The Three C’s: Closure
Understanding a fingerspelled word by filling in the missing letters.
• ELPHNT
• BACTRA
• JSCA
Cultural Cues
• Become familiar with the Deaf community and and cultural terminology.

~ Examples: Laurent Clerc, decoder, cochlear implant
• Become familiar with commonly used abbreviations and acronyms
~ Examples: NTID, SWCID, CSUN, IDEA, etc.
Context
Understanding a fingerspelled word by using conversational clues.

• Zoo .... Elphnt
• Car......Hnda, Chv, Frd

You can use the conversational clues to help you make closure and figure out the word.

• Look at the whole story
• Example: LOOK-FOR NEW CAR, COME-TO F-O-R-D. BUY M-E-R-C-U-R-Y CAR, SAW Lincoln, TOO EXPENSIVE, CAN'T AFFORD, NOT BAD E-S-C-O-R-T, GOOD M-I-L-E-A-G-E
Conceptual G-O-O-D-Y-E-A-R vs. GOOD + YEAR
Don't delete this just because it looks weird. Believe it or not, you can read it.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod
aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal
pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be
a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas thoughtslpeling was ipmorantt.

Fingerspelled Loan Signs
ASL fingerspelled words borrowed from English
Example: W-H-A-T
I-F
E-A-R-L-Y
Letters-Handshapes

• English has 26 letters
• ASL has over 98 ASL letters/handshapes.
Read whole word, not individual letters
• Read Fingerspelling word-by-word (not letter-by-letter)
Use closure clues:
Look at the beginning and ending of the word
Example: B-O-__-K
B-R-E-__-D
• Use Normal Pace: Get accustomed to reading and spelling at a normal pace, not slow, so you will understand Deaf Fingerspellers easier.
• Some Deaf fingerspell for emphasis.
Functions of Fingerspelling
• Names of people
• Names of places
• Dates
• Brands
• Things without established signs
Age Dependent
Younger people tend to sign more: older Deaf people tend to fingerspell more.
Confusing Handshape Combinations

• 9-F
• 2-V
• 6-W
• K-P
• E-O
• G-Q
• U-H
• I-J
• M-N
• 10-A-S
• 4-B

Goals for fingerspelling accuracy
• Clarity
• Accuracy
• Speed
Practice Sentence
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.

[All 26 letters in the alphabet are used.]
List of words commonly spelled in ASL
DAYS
LAZY
NO
NO-GOOD
ODD
OFF (Break-Up)
OFF (Turn-Off)
CHEV(y)
OH
OK (Approval)
OWN
PIZZA
SALE
SILLY
E-MAIL
SO (Don’t Care)
SOON
SUE (Lawsuit)
SURE
TTY
UGLY
VERY

List of words commonly spelled in ASL.
ALL
ANYWAY
BACK
BANK
BAR
BEEN
BILLION
BUS
BUSY
BUZZ
CAN
CAR
CLUB
CONDO
COOL (Attitude, not weather)
DO (Errand/What to do?)
TOO BAD (No Empathy)
FOOD
DOG
DR. (Ph.D.)
EARLY
EX-
FIX
FREE
FUN
GAS
GO
GROSS
HELL
IF
JAZZ
JOB
JOHN
JUNK
JUNK
KILL
KILLED
HS (High School)
OR
ATTIC
WHAT
WHY
PATIO
WOW
YES
APT
BURN
CHECK
EASY
WILL
References
• Groode, Joyce. Fingerspelling: Expressive & receptive fluency. San Diego, CA: DawnSignPress
• Mendoza, Liz. ABC-123: Fingerspelling and numbers in American sign language. Alexandria, VA: RID Press
• Padden, C. (2006). Learning fingerspelling twice: Young signing children's acquisition of fingerspelling. (Marschark M., Schick B., Spencer P., Eds.). Advances in Sign Language Development by Deaf Children.
• Padden, C. & Clark, D. (2003). How the alphabet came to be used in a sign language. Sign Language Studies. 4(1), 10-33.
• Padden, C., & Brentari, D. (2001). A lexicon with multiple origins: Native and foreign vocabulary in American Sign Language. (Brentari, D., Ed.). Foreign Vocabulary in Sign Languages: A Cross-Linguistic Investigation of Word Formation.

Summary
• Configuration
• Cultural Cues
• Context
• Conceptual
• Clarity of Production
• Predictable/Anticipating Categories
• Read whole word, not individual letters
• Normal pace
• Emphasis
• Age
• General to Specific
• Not every word is signed
Full transcript