Man with black hair and wearing blue shirt signs in front of purple backdropIdentify Fingerspelled Words in an Excerpt from

Capitalizing on the Collectivist Culture of Deaf Community

In this video, Fred Weiner shares his ideas about how to take advantage of collectivist culture in the Deaf community as part of a TEDxGallaudet Talk.  You can see the complete talk at


  • to identify fingerspelled words in an ASL text


This activity will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

Directions for Practice:

Follow the steps below for the activity.

More Practice

For more practice with Fingerspelled Word Recognition, check out this activity on Building Templates for Fingerspelled Word Recognition.


You will watch an excerpt of the longer presentation in which Fred talks about the make-up of the city of Toronto.

Based on the image below, predict what fingerspelled items you might encounter.  Write down the items you think might be fingerspelled.

presentation slide with words: Collectivism, Opportunties & Convergence

Prediction is an important step in using the priming effect to prepare your brain for more durable learning.  

Watch this segment of the video and identify as many fingerspelled items as you can.

This excerpt runs from 4:08 – 5:49. The first time you play it, it will play just the clip.If you replay it, you need to either refresh the page to re-set the video or scroll to the spot yourself.

Checking Your Work

This is the list of words that are fingerspelled in this section of the text.

  • map
  • Toronto
  • city
  • ethnic enclave (Note: plural shown not in fingerspelling, but in subsequent signs)
  • Caribbeans (Note: this is rapid fingerspelling and not all the letters are present)
  • enclave (multiple times)
  • own (multiple times)
  • of
  • so
  • be
  • Italy
  • Miami
  • Havana
  • VA (the state of Virginia)
  • Saigon

Watch the Video Again

Now that you have seen the list of fingerspelled, watch the video again to see if you can recognize the words that you missed the first time.

You may want to space your learning to make it more challenging and wait an hour or a day to re-watch the video and see what fingerspelled words you catch.