The American Sign Language Handshape Starter

A Beginner's Guide

First Edition

By Richard A. Tennant & Marianne Gluszak Brown
Illustrated by Valerie Nelson-Metlay

Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Paperback : 9781563681301, 176 pages, September 2002
Ebook : 9781563681820, 176 pages, October 2009
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Beginning signers now can improve their recognition of the most commonly used signs with this easy-to-follow handbook. The American Sign Language Handshape Starter illustrates 800 of the most frequently used signs, arranging them by the 40 standard handshapes used in American Sign Language (ASL). Carefully chosen for their common use, the signs also have been organized by day-to-day topics, including food, travel, family, sports, clothing, school terms, time, nature and animals, and many others from everyday conversation. The American Sign Language Handshape Starter begins with a confidence-building introduction to ASL use and structure, and tips on basic signing. It also provides a simple guide to finding signs that are either new or familiar to learn their meanings. With the Handshape Starter, new signers, their teachers, and their parents will find improvement in ASL to be faster and even more enjoyable.


Richard Tennant is a former mathematics teacher who has studied American Sign Language extensively and now resides in Acra, NY.

Marianne Gluszak Brown is an American Sign Language Teacher’s Association (ASLTA) professionally certified interpreter and a child of deaf parents (coda) who works in Palisades, NY.