14.6 Open vs closed letters

English Notes
BSL Video

Open vs closed letters

The consonants -d-, -k-, -p- may be made with the base hand as a '5' or a 'G'.  Normally, the base hand will have the ‘5’ handshape unless the letter is the last in the word (and non-derived signing or nothing else follows).  Where the letter comes at the end of the word (or is part of a final double letter) the base hand closes to a ‘G’ handshape.  For example, in -d-o-g- the -d- base hand is a 5, but in -o-d-d- it is a G hand.  In the unlikely event that we would want to fingerspell "kippered" the base hand would be a 5, throughout.


Vowels are normally made with the ‘5’ handshape on the base hand.  However, -a- and -e- can have all the fingers closed apart from the thumb (-a-) or the index finger (-e-).  This is for abbreviations and single manual letter signs only, not for word-final letters.


The letter -s- has a 5 base hand unless it is a single manual letter sign, when it is a claw 'I' handshape on both hands.  During spelling the pad of the little finger of the active hand contacts the pad of the little finger of the base hand. The "interlocking" -s- is only for citation forms, for emphasis or for single manual letter signs.


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