Talk:American manual alphabet

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I've taken a few semesters of ASL at my university, and it was made explicity clear that numbers such as those from 1 - 5 are shown with the palm in (unless it is a money sign, etc). Is this illustration incorrect? Lordwow

I've never heard of such a rule. ' (Feeling chatty? ) (Edits!) 22:49, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
I posted the illustration and even when I did so, I was aware of a similar rule that was taught to me in an ASL class. My take on the illustration is that it is designed to show how to form the hand and fingers, but not necessarily which way to face the hand. (i.e. if the back of the hand was displayed in the illustration, it may not be clear how to hold the fingers against the palm) That's my theory, anyways. --Ds13 23:15, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Note about chart: B is shown as the second person would see it, whereas g,h are shown as 1st person sees it. This inconsistency is pretty common, but makes it difficult to understand whether a letter sign is palm in or palm out. (Andrew)

Oh, just read above. Maybe someone can find a better chart.(Andrew)

Yes, 1-5 are palm in. For long numbers, such as phone numbers, they are signed with the palm out - the switching from palm in to out in out out... in would be distracting. Most images of the alphabet and numbers show incorrect palm orientation. I might make photos from signers POV and receivers POV. Not today however.(Mike.lifeguard)

American manual alphabet

Is this one any better? It will still not show you HOW to sign them in space, just how to form the handshapes. Cwterp 17:27, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

I can respond to this: Yes, that is the technically grammatically correct rule; but not always the reality of usage in common-day speech. In other words does everyone speak grammatically correct when speaking English? Neither do deaf people always speak proper ASL. In fact the majority of deaf people I have met use the palm out for the numbers 1-5 (just watch any instruction video that is hosted by a deaf person.) However, the numbers 11 to 15 seem to have always been palm in. Just think, if both 1-5 and 11-15 were palm in, it could be a little confusing. {Note: 11-15 are always palm-in; so you only to have "correct" yourself with 1-5 depending on your audience.} So I say, when you are in your class, do it the way your profressor says; but when your speaking with a deaf friend do it the way they do it. (talk) 14:38, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

title change please[edit]

This alphabet is called the American Manual Alphabet, not the American Sign Language Alphabet. I don't know how to change the title of the article, but it is wrong. this is according to Sternberg, Martin L. A. American Sign Language. New York: Harper & Row, 1981. Mike.lifeguard 19:44, 12 October 2006 (UTC)Mike.lifeguard

Should really be American manual alphabet (not capitalised). I'll move it. ntennis 06:03, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

International differences[edit]

Firstly, this reference:

The ASL alphabet is based on an old Spanish manual alphabet that dates back to at least the seventeenth century.

should have a citation, since every single reference to the origins of the American Manual Alphabet that I've read say that it is actually based on the French model, not the Spanish.

Secondly, I deleted the following paragraph:

It is used with minor modification in Paraguay, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. The Asian countries just listed modify the T, for the ASL T is considered obscene. Instead, they use the T of the Irish manual alphabet, which is like an ASL X, but with the thumb tucked into the index finger (that is, the index finger wraps around the tip of the thumb). In Thailand, one indicates points on the left hand for the tone and vowel marks of the Thai alphabet, and aspiration is not indicated. The Paraguay alphabet is identical to ASL, except for the addition of the letter Ñ, which is an N swiveled at the wrist so that the fingers move side to side, and the letters LL and RR, which are L and R plus movement to the side.

because this article is about the American Manual Alphabet, not about international methods of fingerspelling. --Micahbrwn 01:06, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Help text on "e"[edit]

"Thumb also often lower (like a claw)" ... Like a Claw? Not only is this not particularly helpful, it seems to promote, assist, aid or abet raptors. Not good. Tar7arus 14:01, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

  • its also incorrect. Its true that you will see it, but only by people who only need to use it infrequently. It is a quick way to Carpel Tunnel :-) Cwterp 17:16, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

How to sign letter "o"[edit]

In the chart, it says the letter "o" should be turned sideways, but under Common mistakes it says

As with the letter O, the zero should not be turned to the side, but shown palm facing forward.

I'm confused about how to sign the letter. --Wizard04 (talk) 15:14, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

The chart is wrong. It's shown that way for "clarity" (so you can see the shape). I don't know why that caption is there. kwami (talk) 20:11, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Chart Conclusion[edit]

It seems that we have a consensus on the issues with the chart. I am not qualified to replace it, but I would implore someone who is to please find a suitable alternative. I am especially concerned with the notation for 'o' that doesn't distinguish it from 0 (zero) and the palm position for the numbers. Thebesius (talk) 19:02, 31 January 2010 (UTC)


hi i think sign language is a form of art —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:08, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Common Mistakes section[edit]

The common mistakes section, particularly the "rhythm, speed, and movement" subsection, is written as if it were intended to appear in an ASL textbook (and I'm sure we all know that Wikipedia is Not a Textbook). Don't give tips, just tell it like it is. Don't use the second person.Mikeaschneider (talk) 19:29, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

I have added an original research template to that section, as nothing in this section was referenced or cited. I will also put this page on my watch page. Rather than deleting anything (though it would not be against the guidelines to delete anything not cited) I will attempt to find sources for whatever I can account for. I don't personally disagree with much in the section; however it doesn't matter whether I agree with it or not; as per the notion of verifiability. I have never worked on this article before, but I suppose a new hand can't hurt. (talk) 14:50, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Variations, and old signs[edit]

Some of these letter-signs(for lack of a better term) have regional variations; secondarily some of the letter-signs have been changed. Thirdly, there are differences between signed exact English and ASL letter-signs.

For example, the letters "d" and "f" The letter d is more relaxed in modern position in modern asl, with only the middle finger touching the thumb. The sign for "d" in the article is a bit archaic for both ASL and SEE. The letter "f" changes regionally. The sign in the picture is still used, but alternatively in other areas the thumb does not hold up the fore-finger but rater the forefinger merely touches the thumb (this sign would be a homonym for the sign "9" {nine}) I'm not sure how to include this article, however it should be mentioned that there are variations. Thank you... (talk) 14:28, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

How to double letters[edit]

How to double letters like the 2 l's in doll is not mentioned in this article. please add this.\ (talk) 17:47, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Formal vs Informal for pictures?[edit]

I'm confused. When are formal and informal letters used? Why is there no formal F (Do you just use PH in formal circumstances?) Ticklewickleukulele (talk) 21:14, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

A Sign for 0[edit]

Signs for 1 through 9 are shown. Why not a sign for 0, too? (talk) 19:36, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

G is missing![edit]

...from the "letters and digits" section. There are several images for G in the set, but I don't know enough to tell which one would be appropriate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

In the article history, it looks like that picture was removed by an anonymous user. I restored the one that was in the article previously, though I don't know enough to confirm it's the appropriate one! Lusanaherandraton (talk) 11:06, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

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I need to learn asl Amaze.skye28 (talk) 03:09, 5 June 2017 (UTC)

This article only covers "fingerspelling", which is a very small part of ASL. If you're spelling out sentences with the American manual alphabet, then you aren't using ASL at all (see Manually coded English#Rochester method)... AnonMoos (talk) 17:45, 7 June 2017 (UTC)