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Manual alphabet

A manual alphabet is a series of handshapes that correspond exactly to the letters in the alphabet of a language. This allows words to be 'written in air' by being spelled out using the hands. Manual alphabets can be one or two handed. For, example, American Sign Language uses a one-handed manual alphabet while British Sign Language uses a two-handed one.

The process of spelling out words using a manual alphabet is called fingerspelling. Fingerspelling is an important part of Sign language. It is used in sign primarily for proper nouns and for names of person or places for which there is no sign.

Communication with deafblind people also uses manual alphabets. Examples are the Deafblind Manual Alphabet (touching a deafblind person's hand in special ways signifies letters) or the Block Alphabet (also known as the Spartan Alphabet), in which one traces capital letters of the Latin alphabet in the palm of a deafblind person's hand.

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