The final part of the lessons on American manual alphabet (AMA) and NATO phonetic alphabet. You will probably have found learning these systems very easy. I learnt all the AMA signs in less than a day. There are various ways you can practice. If you are waiting somewhere or during an advertisement break on TV you can fingerspell the names of things around you. Or you can “recite” the vowels. Accompany this by saying or thinking the phonetic terms.
Uniform: Two fingers raised, like the old cub scout salute. Scouts should be in Uniform. Practice signing India-Lima-Uniform to your significant other and you will soon memorize this sign.
Victor: V for Victor(y). Uniform with the fingers apart.
Whiskey: Victor with an extra finger to form a “W”. Mindhacker suggests “three fingers of whiskey”.
X-ray: Crook your finger like it is broken. You should get an X-ray for that.
Yankee: Resembles the “hang-loose” gesture so Mindhacker has a memory aid about “Yankee surfers”. In English “y” and “i” are sometimes exchanged so I remember this as being like the India sign. The Yankee or Yankee-Sierra sign can be used to say “yes”, November or November-Oscar, “no”. There are alternate signs to do this.
Zulu: Like Juliet, a symbol you draw in the air, but using your index finger rather than the India sign. Go inward, outward and inward again. Mindhacker likens this to a clock pendulum, the clock set to Zulu time, naturally.
The numbers: You will have already encountered these in my book Survival Weapons: Optimizing Your Arsenal. One to five are simple enough. For six to nine the key thing to remember is that six starts with the little finger. Note the “thumb” wave signal for ten. Use a number and Charlie for “hundreds”. There is an ASL sign for “thousands” but it needs two hands. “Mike” or “Kilo” are not really suitable since these are more logically used for “metres”, “minutes” or “kilometres/ klicks”. Tango or Tango-Hotel could be used for thousands.
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