Abbreviations and States

Everyday words can quickly be abbreviated applying the manual alphabet. Often, it is manually abbreviated words like these that become the recognized loan signs in time:

  • “Air-conditioning” is fingerspelled using “A,” and “C” in place.

  • “Barbecue” is fingerspelled using “B,” “B,” and “Q” in place.

  • “High School” is fingerspelled using “H,” and “S” in place.

  • “Identification” is fingerspelled using “I,” and “D” in place.

  • “Avenue” is fingerspelled using “A,” “V,” and “E” in place.

  • “Boulevard” is fingerspelled using “B,” “L,” “V,” and “D” in place.

  • “Overtime” is fingerspelled using “O,” and “T” in place.

  • Of course there are many more abbreviations. Here are three favorites:

  • “Videocassette recorder” is fingerspelled using “V,” “C,” and “R” in place.

  • “Compact Disc” is fingerspelled using “C,” and “D” in place.

  • “Digital Video Disc” is fingerspelled using “D,” “V,” and “D” in place.

  • Lastly, here is a cute abbreviation: Form the letter “P.” Now trace the letter “Z” in front of you. You've just ordered a “pizza”! This is just one of the many different and fun ways you can sign “pizza.”

    Abbreviations of States

    Mastering the manual alphabet will assist you in the upcoming chapters. The “instructions” on how to form signs often include the various hand-shapes of letters. Now, here is one more exercise to help you apply your new skill of fingerspelling. Sign each state using its two-letter abbreviation.

    There are various ways to fingerspell the states. Fingerspelling the states, using two letters, is quick and readily recognized. It is also common in ASL to see three or four letters used for state abbreviations. Keep in mind that you will also see regional signs for states. Once you have been shown the regional sign, it is the one that you would use while you are in that region.

    ASL has indicators that are often used for acronyms and abbreviations. The signer, while fingerspelling, moves her hand in a small circle. This movement would indicate that what is being fingerspelled should not be read as a regular word. Circular movement can also indicate capitalization.

    As you move along in your study of sign language, and as you perhaps become involved with Deaf signers, many points that have been mentioned here will become fine-tuned. Remember, the magic words are relax, enjoy, and practice.

    1. Home
    2. Sign Language
    3. Fingerspelling
    4. Abbreviations and States
    Visit other About.com sites: