Fingerspelling is a way of representing a word by spelling it out, letter by letter. It uses the American Manual Alphabet, which is a set of separate hand-shapes representing each of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet. Watching and reading every letter of each word can be exhausting, and you will need to keep this in mind. ASL uses limited fingerspelling. However, fingerspelling and the handshapes of the manual alphabet do play important roles in signing. You will get a better understanding of this technique in Chapter 4.