Learning American Sign Language: ASL 1 – Unit 2 Sample

In this unit sample, you will be learning American Sign Language lexicalized fingerspelling.

Vocabulary – Food & Drink

Lexicalized Fingerspelling

Lexicalized fingerspelling (sometimes called “loan signs”) is fingerspelling that looks more like a sign rather than a fingerspelled word. These are 2-5 letter words that are commonly used and have their own special movements.

Here is a list of words that are commonly lexicalized:

#APT (apartment)
#DO-DO-(“what do”)


You would use the lexicalized version of a sign if:

  1. You want to emphasize a point.
  2. You want to use directionality (i.e. GIVE #BACK-(signing toward a specific referent).
  3. You want to make a comparison (spell on different hands).

In the video below, our signer will demonstrate some common lexicalized words.

As you watch the video, make sure that you recognize how these lexicalized words are different from normal fingerspelling.

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