Why are some words in ASL written with fingers?

Finger alphabet - flash cards

Learning, practicing and mastering the finger alphabet

The big challenge with finger alphabet is not learning the characters, but being able to follow the speed of speaking of a signer.

The finger alphabet flash cards are an online learning program with the help of which you learn the characters and acquire the necessary fluency in spelling, both in signing yourself and in understanding.

To reach this level, you need practice. Other learning aids let you practice individual letters. As a sign language beginner, you will usually only find individual words on video, which are, however, quickly learned by heart.

You want to learn the alphabet of your country, but maybe you want to think outside the box. ASL is a good start for German speakers, but it doesn't recognize umlauts or other special characters that occur in Switzerland and Germany (sch, ch, ß).

The finger alphabet flashcards will help you master spelling in:

  1. Learn the signs
  2. Practice the words
  3. Acquire speed and fluency

With the finger alphabet flashcards you can

  • learn the finger alphabet
  • Practice your language
  • begin with the individual letters or the entire alphabet. Position the mouse on a letter and you will see the corresponding hand signal
  • Practice with or without displaying the corresponding text
  • see moving characters like j, z or ß and double sounds (like "pp" and "ll") as animation
  • Acquire fluency. The program randomly selects words from a simple or difficult dictionary. You see, press "New Word", if not then press "Again" or "Word One".
  • Build up the tempo - choose from "Beginner" (one character every 1.5 seconds) to "Real" (2 characters per second).

The finger alphabet flashcards currently support the following sign languages:

Other languages ​​can be offered on request.

The finger alphabet flashcards have three dictionaries to choose from:

  • Letters - the individual letters including special characters
  • Easy - Approx. 400 to 500 popular first names in the respective language area. Average word length: approx. 5 letters
  • Difficult - approx. 2,000 to 2,500 localities (some very exotic names) from the respective language area. Average word length: approx. 9 letters

By increasing the complexity and speed, you can improve until you are satisfied with your skills.

Before you begin, click on "DGS" or "DSGS" for the hand signals in German or Swiss-German sign language.

Step 1 - learn the signs

You can display individual letters or the entire alphabet. You can enter letters yourself or you love surprises and leave the choice of a letter to the random.

  • To see the full alphabet, click on "Alphabet"
  • To see individual letters, click on the "Letters" dictionary, then on "New Word"
  • To hide written letters for practice purposes, click on the picture or "word off"

So it's easy to learn the letters. You copy the letters yourself when you see them. If you do not know a letter, click on the picture (or on "word a") and the written form will be displayed.

Step 2 - practice words

As soon as you have mastered the alphabet, you can switch to the "simple" dictionary. The simple dictionary consists of around 400 to 500 popular first names, these are relatively short. So most of the words will be familiar to you. Read and reproduce hand signals so you can better recognize what is being signed and so you can spell better. You can adjust the pace at will if it is too difficult or too easy for you.

Step 3 - train understanding and fluency

The finger alphabet is mostly used for names and places, the latter being much more difficult. The words are longer and can seem quite exotic. In addition, experienced users can sign very quickly.

When you have reached a good level with the simple dictionary, that is to say you understand "Fast" or "Real" well at Tempo, then you are ready to switch to the difficult dictionary. You will likely have to slow down the pace as the longer words are more of a challenge.

But the principle remains the same:

  • You start by reading the signs.
  • When you can reliably read the letters, recreate the characters and increase the pace.

In the case of long words, it is advantageous to first separate the words into syllables. 3 syllables are easier to remember than 10 letters.