Definition of fingerspelling in US English:



  • A form of sign language in which individual letters are formed by the fingers to spell out words.

    • ‘The three deaf brothers in the family all used fingerspelling extensively (of English). They also used a dialect of ASL and some Manually Coded English as well.’
    • ‘Hirsh-Pasek found that deaf children use fingerspelling in the same way hearing children use phonemes, that is, by connecting them to written words.’
    • ‘Last week was pretty cool with lots of ‘my name is’ and fingerspelling.’
    • ‘The sign system is clearly not ASL although variations of ASL and forms of Manually Coded English fingerspelling of English were noted among deaf people who had gone south to school.’
    • ‘Most researchers have identified British reliance on fingerspelling (rather than a form of signed language as developed in France by Roch-Ambroise-Auguste Bebian) as at least a precursor to oralism.’
    • ‘‘Helen may have remembered her awakening to language as a sudden revelation at the garden pump, but Annie Sullivan's diary tells that it took many weeks of fingerspelling on Helen's hands before connections started to be made in her mind’.’