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Fingerspelling shortcuts.


Hi, all! I had a friend call my VRS number (first VRS call ever) and leave a brief recorded message. He started out by saying, "Hi, Melvin! This is Richard." Here's what I saw the video terp do: Hi, M-(hold palm out with all fingers extended except the ring finger)-N This R(with all fingers extended)-D . . . . I suppose the middle handshape in "Melvin" was the L, V, and I all rolled into one handshape. I don't know what the terp was doing with Richard's name. I can't find any help on the Internet with such fingerspelling shortcuts. I would like to start using VRS, because text relay is just taking too long. However, fingerspelling is really starting to scare me! Anybody have any more shortcuts I might encounter with VRS? I really didn't think I would be getting a fingerspelling wizard on VRS! Ha ha! Thanks!


Hi there, you will find that especially with names one letter blends into the other. I have a friend you can spell his name in a milli second. Well, it feels like it anyway. It's just one smooth move. Often names are also replaced by signs, for example "the little one" or "the beard". Fingerspelling isn't actually that hard, so if you spend some time on practicing it you will soon get the hang of it. Let us know how you get on.


The terp was saving time. Other terps do it, too. Anytime I see a name beginning with "R" I watch for a "B" (Robin, sister) or a "D" (Richard, best friend). When the terp fingerspells the first word and it contains a "V," I know that the caller just said, "Hi, Melvin!" Also, I had a lengthy conversation in which "Barbara" came up several times. Her name was fingerspelled the first time. On subsequent mentions of her name the terp just shook a "B." She was the only "B" name in the conversation. I followed suit during the next call I made. I signed "dry cleaner" upon the first mention of them. After that, I mentioned them again by spelling "D-C." I probably should have shaken the "C" to kind of clue the terp in that I was using an abbreviation, but she got it anyway. Now, it's just interesting to see what shortcuts the terp will take to keep the call going at a smooth pace. Only, I wish some of these websites that teach fingerspelling would mention this phenomenon so we would not be surprised and bewildered by it. Melvin


Hi there, in regards to shaking the hand... you will find that people often shake the hand to indicate double letters. For example the word "spoon". If you fingerspelled it you would either shake or move your hand along when signing the letter "o". So with Barbara that might have been the same thing, because the name has two B's in it. :D


Just tell the 'terp to slow down.


If there is already a name sign in use and the terp knows it, they'll just use that. This can make it confusing if you don't know your friends' and acquaintances' name signs, but fingerspelling can be a blur even for new terps themselves. It takes time, patience, and the ability to take a good, long breath and relax.

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