Symbols for Hands

(Versión en español aquí)

Finger Positions

The following chart gives examples of the symbols used for different finger configurations. Though each option is shown on all fingers here, each finger can be changed independently. Some features, such as ‘spread’ and ‘contact’ affect the relative positions of the symbols rather than their standalone appearance.

positions chart 2.1

Palm (P) and Finger (F) Orientation

Orientations are differentiated by the shape and color of the palm. Orientations in which the palm is facing directly toward or away from an onlooker (palm forward and palm body) are represented by circles, while other orientations, in which the fingers, wrist, or side of the hand face the onlooker (palm in, out, up, or down), are represented by ovals. White represents the palm and black represents the back of the hand. The dominant and non-dominant hand are mirror images. The chart below shows the images for a 01234+ shape (all fingers extended) on both hands in every orientation.

orientations chart

Changes to hand position

If a hand changes from the beginning to the end of a sign, both positions are shown, separated by a diagonal line: solid for a single change, and dashed for a repeated change. The images below show 1) a repeated change from palm down to palm up with all fingers extended, and 2) a single change from a fist to an open hand with the palm up.
1. hand change          2. hand change2