The term digraph describes a combination of two letters that represent only a single phoneme. Each is cued with a single handshape or placement cue.

Consonant Digraphs Phoneme Cue Examples
ch /ʧchchʧchchʧchch/ Handshape 8 cheek, searches, which
ck /kkkkkkkkk/ Handshape 2 luck, clock, flick
gh /fffffffff/ Handshape 5 laugh, rough, cough
ng /ŋngngŋngngŋngng/ Handhsape 8 sing, wrong, hang
ph /fffffffff/ Handshape 5 phone, aphid, graph
sh /ʃshshʃshshʃshsh/ Handshape 6 ship, dishes, wish
th (voiced) /ðt͟htHðt͟htHðt͟htH/ Handshape 2 them, father, writhe
th (voiceless) /θththθththθthth/ Handshape 7 thief, Catholic, both
wh /ʍhwhwʍhwhwʍhwhw/ or /wwwwwwwww/ Handshape 4 or 6 (*also 3) what, when, where, (*who)

Relevance to Cueing


The pronunciation difference between whether and weather is losing ground. Relatively few English speakers make this distinction despite its difference in spelling. Instructors should discourage new cuers who consider adopting this difference in their cueing though if it does not already exist in their dialect. Some believe it would be advantageous to have an "extra" phoneme in one's dialect or that this might provide advantages for reading. However, it creates an artificial dialect in the deaf cuer. It is not a good idea to change one's pronunciation when speaking to children in order to have one's speech more closely resemble the way words are written

See Also