QUESTION: How to write the M Handshape in 1-Handed Fingerspelling

Ronald Dettloff signpreach at SBCGLOBAL.NET
Thu Dec 2 05:30:34 UTC 2010

Thanks for setting up Ryan Ruggero's password, etc., but I has not been allowed 
editing privileges. He needs that please.
R. H.  Dettloff 

From: Valerie Sutton <sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG>
Sent: Wed, December 1, 2010 6:45:24 PM
Subject: Re: QUESTION: How to write the M Handshape in 1-Handed Fingerspelling

SignWriting List
December 1, 2010

VAL's ANSWER: Look at these two handshapes below. The first one has no bend in 
the kunckle joints. The second bends in the kunckle joints. Most people perform 
the letter M bending at the kunckle joints, so I would choose the second with 
the knuckle bend on the right:

Regarding the issues of finger direction in the second handshape... When 
performing an M, the back of the hand is seen from the TOP VIEW....see diagram 

When you have a white space at the knuckle joint, you are looking overhead. The 
palm of the hand is parallel to the floor. From the Top View, with the hand 
projecting forward, the fingers pointing down actually disappear completely from 
view. So actually it would NOT be more natural to see the fingers below the 
square for the fist, when viewing the hand from overhead...The fingers disappear 
from view when directed down from the Top View....maybe a tiny tip of the 
fingers show, as they do in Adam's photo, but not enough to write them under the 

So how do we write this? We must write the fingers or the symbol cannot be read.

See diagram below. The first symbol on the left is used when the hand is 
projecting straight forward. Although the fingers are really hidden behind the 
hand, the three lines at the top of the symbol show they are bending forward 
from overhead....The middle symbol shows the hand projecting towards the front 
corner on a diagonal. The third symbol shows the hand projecting to the side 
wall, but you are seeing the hand from overhead.

All of them have the fingers projecting down. It is a symbol we memorize, and is 
quite well read and pretty standard around the world... smile... Val ;-)
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