ASL BASICS | The Alphabet and Fingerspelling | American Sign Language | Chris Gorges | Skillshare

Playback Speed


  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

ASL BASICS | The Alphabet and Fingerspelling | American Sign Language

teacher avatar Chris Gorges, ASL Basics | Instructor

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:14
    • 2. Letters A-F

      3:16
    • 3. Letters G-L

      2:39
    • 4. Letters M-S

      3:20
    • 5. Letters T-Z

      2:49
    • 6. Alphabet A-Z Review

      2:06
    • 7. Practice #1 | Words with 3 letters

      1:48
    • 8. Practice #2 | Names with 3 letters

      1:56
    • 9. Practice #3 | Words with 4 letters

      1:29
    • 10. Practice #4 | Names with 4 letters

      1:12
    • 11. Practice #5 | Words with 5 letters

      1:32
    • 12. Practice #6 | Names with 5 letters

      1:42
    • 13. Class Project

      0:29
    • 14. Tips & Tricks

      4:19
  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.

108

Students

--

Projects

About This Class

In this class you will learn how to sign the entire ASL alphabet from memory and develop your fingerspelling skills so you can confidently and effectively communicate with others using American Sign Language. 

IN THIS COURSE: 

  • You will learn how to properly sign each letter of the ASL alphabet
  • You will learn how common variations for certain letters
  • You will learn how to avoid common mistakes
  • You will go through a series of practice videos to help you develop your fingerspelling skills
  • You will learn how to quickly develop both your expressive and receptive fingerspelling skills
  • You will complete a fun and engaging project that will immediately put what you have learned into real world practice

This course will be a good match for you whether you are just getting started or you are looking to further improve your fingerspelling skills.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:

"As an ASL instructor, I enthusiastically recommend this wonderful resource to my students and everyone else as well to learn, practice and review."

- Trent Wade | Deaf ASL Instructor

"I really enjoyed this class! I love how clear the instructor is and the video quality is amazing. I can not wait until he comes out with more videos. Thanks so much for making these lessons, they helped so much!"

- Dee Dee Dorrier

"Thank you so much for these videos! I was a total beginner to ASL but wanted to start learning when someone came up to me at my retail job and I couldn't communicate with them because I didn't know a single word in ASL. My friends and I learned from these videos together, and we feel much more equipped to communicate in ASL now!"

- Christina Baker

"Thank you thank you thank you. I don't know what it was about your delivery but I believe I've got the ENTIRE alphabet stored! So again thank you so much!"

- Myca Colvin

"Your videos are the most helpful I've found! You explain so well. Thank you so much!"

- Lea Connolly

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Hello, my name is Chris Gorges and I have been helping others overcome the various challenges of learning sign language for well over 10 years. I have a background in Linguistics, ASL, Deaf culture, a professional interpreter, teacher, mentor, and owner of ASL Basics.

My personal goal to make learning sign language as accessible and easy as possible so you can be successful for the reasons that are most important to you.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Chris Gorges

ASL Basics | Instructor

Teacher

My name is Chris Gorges and I have been helping others overcome the various challenges of learning sign language for well over 10 years. I have a background in Linguistics, ASL, Deaf culture, teacher, professional interpreter, mentor, and owner of ASL Basics.

My personal goal to make learning sign language as accessible and easy as possible so you can be successful for the reasons that are most important to you.

 

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:

"Chris Gorges provides an effective, nonjudgmental and supportive outlet for ASL students to practice and review their skills. As an ASL instructor, I enthusiastically recommend this wonderful resource to my students and everyone else as well to learn, practice and review."

- Trent Wade | Deaf ASL Instructor<... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
    0%
  • Yes
    0%
  • Somewhat
    0%
  • Not really
    0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello, my name is Chris gorgeous and for over ten years now I have been helping others overcome the various challenges of learning sign language so they can become fluent in less time. And so in this course we are going to be going over the American Sign Language alphabet. These may be the 26 most important signs that you will learn going forward. And so in this course we're going to be going over how to sign each letter correctly, as well as going over some common variations that you may come across, as well as a few mistakes that are pretty common to new learners. After learning the alphabet, we're going to go ahead and start sharpening your finger spelling skills both expressively and receptive, deceptively through a series of practice videos. And after the series of practice videos, you're going to have a personal project to complete, to really push yourself forward. And before the course is finished, I will be sure to share with you some of my best tips and tricks to not only improve your skills and finger spelling, but also to help you remember and to recall all the letters of the alphabet, as well as to increase your speed and fluidity over time. So let's just go ahead and jump right into this course together and tackle the alphabet. I'll see you in the next video. 2. Letters A-F: Welcome to Section one of the alphabet. And so in this video we're going to be going through the letters a through F. And we'll also cover a few common variations and also a few common mistakes to avoid as we go through each letter. So let's go ahead and get started. First off is the letter a, and so this is very easy to produce. You just make a fist in, make sure your thumb comes out the side just like this. One common mistake that people will make is that they tend to let that thumb drift way too far out to the side. And so when you're making the ladder a, make sure that that thumb as touching the outside of your index finger. A. So the next letter is of course b. And so this is also very simple to produce. You just put your thumb across the palm like this. And one thing to note is that most of these letters are actually going to be having the palm facing the person that you're viewing or the one that your finger spelling too. And so the next letter is C. And remember that palm is going to be facing out. One common mistake with this letter, that because it looks so much like the letter C is you have a tendency of wanting it to hold it sideways. But one thing to remember is try to keep that risk stray in that palm facing out for the majority of the letters in the ASL alphabet. And so with that in mind, we're going to move on to the letter d. And again, that palm is facing out and you just basically hold your index finger straight up in the air. And this is also pretty easy to remember because it looks like a lowercase d when you look at it. So the next letter is E, and this is one that has quite a few variations to it. The most common variation that you'll come across as this, the letter E with a thumb going across the bottom of the other fingers. So one variation is called an open E, where there's a slight gap in between the thumb and the fingers. And another variation is called a screaming E, where there is a large gap in between that thumb and the fingers up on top. And so none of them are necessarily wrong. But again, these are variations that it helps to be familiar with when your finger spelling. And so one more letter for today in that letter is going to be F. It's very simple to produce and you just basically touch the fingertips of your index finger and your thumb together just like that. One common variation that you may come across is the three fingers on top are actually closed like this. And this is actually pretty common to see in pictures. But oftentimes when people are actually finger spelling, these three fingers tend to be open like this. So let's go ahead and quickly review all those letters we just learned a through F. And it will actually help if you sign along as I go through the letters. And this is gonna help with your muscle memory. And this is a good tip for when you're learning new signs as well. So go ahead and follow along. A, B, C, D, E, and F. So that's it for this section. And so if you're ready, go ahead and move on to section two where we're going to be learning the letters G through L. See you in the next one. 3. Letters G-L: Welcome to section two. And in this video we're going to be learning the letters G through L. So again, let's just go ahead and jump right into it. And along the way, I'll show you some common variations and common mistakes to avoid. So the first letter is the letter g. And this might be a little tricky for some, just because the perspective is a little different. So on this we're actually going to be holding our index finger and our thumb in parallel with each other. And will make sure that this is actually flat on top, almost like he can balance an egg in it. So this is the letter G, And so the next letter is h. This actually has a column mistakes. So a lot of people will tend to leave that thumb pointing straight up, maybe because it's more comfortable. But we wanna make sure that that thumb is touchdown and that H is pointing to the side. So moving on to the next letter is i in this one actually also has a common mistake associated with it. So the letter i looks like this. Really simple. We just put our pinky straight up in the air. But one common mistake is some people will just leave their thumb coming out the side. So it kinda looks like an a and an I at the same time. So we definitely want to make sure that that thumb wraps across the front of our fingers like this. And the pinky is standing tall in the air. So the next one is the letter J. And this is actually a really easy letter to produce because we're just drawing in imaginary j in the air just like that. And it's with the pinky and we draw a j. The next letter is k. This might be a little tricky to produce, but it's not too hard. So basically you can start with the two. And you move that thumb in-between the index finger in the middle finger. And it's going to naturally make that middle finger go forward a little bit. So this is the letter k. And again, we wanna make sure that that risk is straight and comfortable in the poem, is facing the person that is watching us. So this is the letter K And just one more letter. And this is probably one of the easiest letters because it looks just like the letter represents, and that's the letter L. And so this is just the thumb and the index finger making the shape of an l. So that's it for this section, the letters G through L. And just like the last section, let's go ahead and do a quick review and follow along with me if you can. So G, H, I, J, K, and L. So that's it. So let's go ahead and move right on to section three where we'll be learning the letters M through s. See you in the next one. 4. Letters M-S: Welcome to section three where we will be learning the letters M through S. And again, we'll be covering common variations in common mistakes to avoid. And so the first letter that we're going to be learning today is the letter M. And so the most common way to sign this is actually where the thumb just kinda pokes out between the pinky and the ring finger on your dominant hand. One variation that you may come across is where you have a looser grip, where those three fingers are slightly bent upwards. And another variation is where all three fingers are pointed straight outwards, almost in a straight line. And this is actually called a straight M or an interpreter's end because many interpreters will actually keep their fingers straight out to help differentiate the letters from others and also to actually finger spell more quickly. So anyways, with that in mind, let's go ahead and move on to the letter N. And this is very similar except we're going to wrap up just the first two fingers over the thumb. And again, this has the same variations to where you have a bent n, where the two fingers are slightly relaxed and you have that straight in or that interpreters and where the fingers point straight outwards. And so with that in mind, let's go ahead and move on to the next letter. Oh, so this is one of the easiest letters where you just basically make an O with your hands. And so again, one common mistake is that because it looks so much like the ladder, many will want to twist their wrist and show that that is an O. And so one thing that we want to keep in mind is that we want to make sure that that risk is nice and straight and comfortable in that poem is facing the person. And so that's it. And moving on to the next letter is the letter P. And this actually is the same handshake as the letter K as in section two. And so the only difference is the position or the orientation. So in this, we see that the middle finger is actually pointing directly down at the ground like this. And so again, it's that same handshape as k. But where the k is pointing up, the p is pointing down next as the letter Q. And this also shares a similar handshake to another letter. So if you remember g, where we have these top two fingers pointing sideways in parallel, the letter q uses that same handshake, but it points down like this. So this is the letter Q. The next one is R. And so for this we just cross our fingers just like this, R. And so the next one is the letter S. And for this we just make a nice tight fist and make sure that that thumb wraps a cross our fingers just like this. And that's it. Those are all the letters for Section three of the ASL alphabet. So again, just like previous sections, let's go ahead and do a quick review together and go ahead and mirror me as we go through the letters. So we're starting with M and N, O, P, Q, R, S. Great. And so let's go ahead and jump right into section four where we'll be wrapping up the entire alphabet by learning the letters a through Z. See you in the next one. 5. Letters T-Z: So we're almost there. So in this section we're going to be learning the letters T through Z. And again, just like the previous sections, we are going to be going over each letter one at a time and cover some common variations and common mistakes to avoid along the way. So let's go ahead and jump right into it. And the first letter is t. And you just put your thumb in between your index finger and your middle finger, and that's it. This is the letter t. The next one is the letter U. And so basically what's going to keep these two fingers together like this? And our thumb is going to be holding down the other two fingers just like this. U. The letter V is very simple. We just open up those fingers and it actually looks just like the letter V and the letter w is also pretty straightforward where we just basically make it W with our hand. And we just hold our pinky down with their thumb and hold up the other three fingers, four w. And the next letter is X. And this might be a little harder to remember because there's no really obvious relation to the letter. But for x we just make a cricket one handshake just like this. And maybe this reminds you of a hook of a pyre in think X marks the spot. So maybe that might help you remember that this is for the letter X and the next letter of course is y. And this, we just have the thumb coming out the side as well as that Pinky. And the three fingers wrapped down the center of the palm like this for y. Ok, so moving on to the last letter that's going to be wrapping up this entire alphabet is the letter Z. And it's really simple. We just draw a Z in the air. And just to remember that the Z is going to be drawn from your perspective, not the other person. So we're gonna start from the top and we're going to move away from the body and go back in towards the body and then away from the body again, if you're left handed, that movement is actually going to be mirrored. And so that finger's going to, again move away, come in and move out. And so that's it. Those are all the letters of the alphabet. And let's go ahead and do a quick review of all the letters from this section. And then in the next video, we'll go through the entire alphabet together, a through Z. So let's go ahead and quickly reviewed t through Z first. T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. So that's it for this section and for the alphabet altogether. So in the next one, let's go ahead and review the, all the letters together. And then moving forward, we'll do some practice and then I'll share some tips and tricks with you to help you remember all the letters and also to continue to improve in your finger spelling skills moving forward. See you in the next one. 6. Alphabet A-Z Review: In this video, we're going to go ahead and review the entire alphabet a through Z without pausing. And this is going to be a great video to come back to, to review and really help improve that muscle memory that we touched on earlier. And again, I'm going to encourage you to go ahead and shadow and sign the alphabet as I sign it as well. So let's go ahead and do this together. A, B, C, D E, F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. So hopefully you were able to copy along as I was doing the alphabet. And that's going to really help finger spelling become more and more natural the more and more you do it. So you may have noticed as I went a through Z, that I didn't include common variations. And so if you would like to go ahead and refresh your memory as to what those variations were and also maybe some common mistakes to avoid. There's nothing wrong with going back and rewatching somebody's videos from this course. So if you need to refresh your memory as to what some of the variations were to some of the letters. Feel free to go ahead and go back to the sections 1234, where we go through mistakes and variations and also this video where we go through a through Z together in the more we go through that material and the more we actually produce it on our hands, the easier it's going to be to finger spell and recall all the letters that we've learned so far. If you're comfortable and confident with what you've learned so far, let's go ahead and put what you've learned to the test. In the next series of videos, we're going to do some practice and we'll go through 345 lettered names and words for you to practice your receptive skills. So let's go ahead and jump right into it. See you in the next one. 7. Practice #1 | Words with 3 letters: All right, it's time for some practice. In this video, I'm going to finger spell three words, and each word is going to be three letters in length. And they're all going to be animals. So that might be helpful. Hint, going forward, I'll go ahead and finger spell each word twice. One at a very slow speed and then at a slightly faster speed. And if you still don't get the word after I've spelled it twice, feel free to go ahead and rewind the video back a little bit and try again. If you still are having a difficult time, don't worry, I'm going to be providing the answers at the end of this video so you can check yourself. So let's just go ahead and jump right into it. And so the first word is okay, I'm going to finger spell that again, but slightly faster this time. Great. And again, if you missed it, feel free to rewind and try again. So the second word is okay. Again, slightly faster. All right, moving on to the third word. Again, slightly faster. All right. Those are all three words. If you didn't catch one of them, Don't worry, go ahead and rewind and you can watch it again. And so the answers to those three words were cat, dog, and pig. So hopefully you enjoyed that round of practice. In the next round, we're going to stick to three letters, but this time we're going to practice names. Seeing in the next one. 8. Practice #2 | Names with 3 letters: Welcome for another round of practice. And so in this video we're going to be going over names. Will finger spell three names twice. Each in each name will be three letters long. And again, I'll finger spell it very slowly the first time and then slightly faster the second time. If you don't catch it, feel free to rewind and go ahead and watch it again. And just like the last video, I'm going to go ahead and let you know what the answers were at the end of the video. So let's just go ahead and dive right into it. So the firstName is okay, let's do that again. Great. So let's go ahead and jump to the second name. If you didn't catch it, feel free to go back and watch it again. Again. Okay. So that was the second name. If you've missed it, feel free to go back and watch it again. And if you've got it and you're ready to move on, the third name is one more time. Okay. So that's it. So the three names were pat, Leo, and Macs. And so if you've got those names, that's great. If you had to rewind a couple times, then don't worry. The more that we do this practice and the more you expose yourself, the easier and the quicker you'll be able to read other people's fingers spelling. So that's level one. And let's just go ahead and do a little bit more practice and we'll move on to four letter words and four letter names. See you in the next one. 9. Practice #3 | Words with 4 letters: In this video, we're going to kick up the difficulty just a little bit by going from three letters to four lettered words. So I'm going to be finger spelling, three states that are four letters each. And so that might be a really good hint as to what each word is going to be. They're all going to be stays. So let's just go ahead and jump right into it. The first state or the first word is going to be. I'll do that again. Okay, so if you've got that, then we can go ahead and move on. If you missed what that was, feel free to go ahead and rewind and watch it again. So the second word or the second state is going to be I'll do that one more time. Okay. If you've got it, let's go ahead and move on to the last word for today and if you missed it, feel free to go back and watch it again. So the third word today is going to be okay, I'll do that one more time. Great debts it. So if you've got that word, let's just go ahead and keep on practicing. And in the next video we're going to be practicing for lettered names. See you in the next one. 10. Practice #4 | Names with 4 letters: Welcome to another practice video. And in this one we are going to be practicing names that have four letters. So let's just go ahead and jump right into it. The first name is Okay one more time. Great. If you've got that, we can move on to the next one and if you missed it, feel free to back up and watch it again. The second name is going to be one more time. Great. If you've got it, let's move on. If not, you can watch it again. The third name today is going to be alright, let's do that one more time. Ok, so if you've got all three of those words, let's just go ahead and jump right into the last set of practice videos where we, where we will be practicing five letter words in names. See you in the next one. 11. Practice #5 | Words with 5 letters: You ready for this? We're going to now jump from four ladders to five lettered words and names. So in this video we're going to be practicing countries that have five letters in them. So I'm going to finger spell three countries that are five letters each. So that might be a good hint as to what these words are going to be. So the first one is Okay, we'll do that one more time. If you understood what that word was, let's just go ahead and jump into the second one. And if you missed it again, go back and we can watch it again. The second one today is going to be great one more time. Okay. So that was the second word. If you understood it. Great. Let's move on to the next one. And again, if you missed it, go back and you can re-watch it again. So the third and last word for today is one more time. And that's it for this round of practice. And in the next video we're going to be practicing names that have five letters. See you the next one. 12. Practice #6 | Names with 5 letters: And congratulations on making it to the last video in this practice series. And so in today's video we're going to be going over three names that have five letters each. And so let's just go ahead and jump right into it and the first name is Okay. One more time. Great. If you've got it, let's move on to the next. If you missed it, go ahead and back up the video a bit and watch it again. The second name is okay, let's do that one more time. Again. If you've got that name, let's go ahead and move on to the next. If you missed it, feel free to go back and watch it again. So the last name that we're going to be going over in this entire practice series is one more time. Okay, that's it. And so I really want to congratulate you on being able to make it through this entire practice series. And again, more practice the better. And in the next video we're going to be going over some of my favorite tips and tricks that can really make your finger spelling more effective, more clear, and more natural. So I'll see you in the next one. 13. Class Project: Okay, so this is going to be a fun project for you. So all you have to do is introduce yourself to somebody else in sign language. And in order to do this, and you could sign my name and then just finger spell your name. So that's my challenge to you and I hope you take it upon yourself to go ahead and try to introduce yourself to somebody else by finger spelling your name. My name is Chris. Nice to meet you for how fun with this project, and I'll see you in the next one. 14. Tips & Tricks : So congratulations on making it to the last section of this course. And that is no small feat. We have learned the entire alphabet, which consists of 26 separate signs. And we've covered some common variations between some of the letters, as well as some common mistakes to avoid. And we've also gone through six part series of practice videos. And so hopefully those were helpful with your receptive skills. And that can be one of the most difficult skills to improve upon. And that is what we're going to be discussing in this video where I'll be sharing my favorite tips and tricks to make your finger spelling more natural and to really improve your skills and to take it to the next level. And so the first tip that I have for you is to practice every day. It might seem easy and it might seem simple, but it is really effective. And so I highly encourage you to go ahead and practice your finger spelling every day and it doesn't have to be a chore, can be something that you just throw in there. Maybe as you're watching a TV show at a name comes up, go ahead and try to finger spell that name. And if you're just having conversation, you know, go ahead and finger spell something that you were talking about in that conversation. And again, it doesn't have to be this long studios process. It doesn't have to be tedious. Just make it light and fun, but try to do it a little bit every day. Another tip that I have for you is to go ahead and finger spell as many names and words as possible instead of just signing the alphabet in order. The reason for this is much like touch typing. It's much more effective if we practice typing out words, then just doing finger exercises or just doing randomized letters. In doing that is going to really help develop your muscle memory and will make finger spelling feel much more natural. So my third tip for you is context matters. There's a thing called contextualization, where if you're aware of the context of the conversation, it can actually really help you figure out what the person is finger spelling to you. So this is really imperative for your receptive understanding. So remember in the practice areas where I told you ahead of time whether it was a state or a country or a name. So doing that really kind of primes your brain to start eliminating different choices. So just for a quick example, remember the video where we went through three different states when I started with the letter U. Really ask yourself, well how many other states start with the letter U? And that really helps you eliminate a lot of other possibilities. And so when I finish it off by going th then it's really claire. Oh, okay. That was Utah. And so really being aware of the context of the conversation can really help improve your chances of understanding the other person when their finger spelling to you. Some of my last tip to you is to focus more on clarity, then speed. Speed will come in time. One of the things that's really the hardest thing about finger spelling as being patient with ourselves. Understand that finger spelling is a skill and it does take time to develop, even if it doesn't feel like you're making progress and your finger spelling isn't getting faster and you're still having a hard time understanding others. Just understand that you are making progress if you're practicing every day and you were constantly exposing yourself to other people's finger spelling and you're trying to finger spell yourself, that skill does develop with time. It might not be where we want it to be. But the more patient we are in, the more we practice, the faster than the more fluid in the more clear our finger spelling will become. So. Again, my last tip to you is to really focus on clarity over speed. So those are some of my favorite tips and tricks that can help you take your finger spelling to the next level. So again, remember to practice every day. Be aware of the context of the conversation and focus on clarity over speed and most important, be patient with yourself and try to enjoy the process along the way. So I really appreciate you taking this course and I look forward to publishing more courses in the future. So stay tuned to skill share. So until next time, I'll see you later. Bye.