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You are HERE >>  Languages : American Sign Language (ASL) and Signed English (SE)

American Sign Language (ASL)  Lesson 2

LT Store
Practice Puzzles
Joanne Mikola and 
Elaine Ernst Schneider


Random House Webster's American Sign Language Dictionary

By Elaine Ernst Schneider
March 12, 2001

Spelling is important for three reasons:

1. There are words that have no signs: people’s names, street signs, restaurants, businesses, etc. These must be spelled. 

2. There are sometimes several words that can be signed in the same manner. To be more specific, you may wish to use the sign and then spell the exact word you want to convey. For instance: land, terrain, and ground are all signed with the same sign. If you know the person needs to use the exact word terrain, then you might wish to make the sign and follow it with the spelling of terrain.

3. Many signs are initialized. This means that if one sign represents several words, the signer may use the beginning letter of the word to distinguish which meaning they are attempting to sign. For instance, bus, car, and truck are all similar. But by initializing the sign with “B,” bus is intended. An initial “C” would stand for car, and so on. This is more common in Signed English than ASL.




Practice spelling the following sentences:

1. Many boys went on the camping trip in the deep dark woods.

2. The bears came and smelled their lunches.

3. Fortunately, the bears were not hungry and wandered away.

Now practice the three different signs for bus, car, and truck. Change the initial letter to differentiate between the three.

To review your asl alphabet, A - L    Click here
To review your asl alphabet, M - Z   Click here

Continued at ASL / SE Lesson 3

Submitted by:  © Elaine Ernst Schneider  is a freelance writer and a teacher. She has been writing since high school and has published articles, songs, and children's work. Presently, Elaine is a curriculum author for Group Publishing and also writes the City Songs column for ezine.  Send your feedback to Elaine
"I just want to say that your website is wonderful!!!  My children who are 9 and 11years old have encountered children in local department stores who are signing and their first reaction is "Mom what are they doing?"  I explain that this is the way they talk.  When I found your website teaching signing, I thought this would be educational for them throughout their life.  I plan to have them learn signing while they are out on summer break.  This will be fun and very educational for them. Thank you for putting this information on the internet." Barbara
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