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How To Learn Sign Language

Lexicalized Fingerspelling

In ASL, there is a sign category called lexicalized fingerspelling or lexicalized signs. These are words that are fingerspelled but with at least one added element. These elements are the characteristics of a sign that include, handshape, orientation, location, and movement. They are glossed with a # sign in front of them and are capitalized as in the pound sign #BUS. Many times, these words do not contain all of the letters to spell the word, or the letters are formed incompletely. An example of this is the lexicalized sign #DOG. #DOG. So instead of signing D-O-G, you will sign #DOG. #DOG. Some signs have a different orientation like the sign #OWN. #OWN. Rather than just spelling O-W-N, you will actually turn your hand upside down, O-W-N, #OWN. Location can also be changed such as in the sign #BACK. #BACK Lastly, there can be an added movement like in the sign #EARLY. #EARLY. #EARLY Though there are sometimes other signs for these words, using lexicalized spellings is a style that you can choose to use.

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