Sign Language: Best Resources for Beginners

American Sign Language is a great language, with its own warm and inclusive culture, that is used by 500,000 in the US to communicate. Sign language is not technically a foreign language, as it is a native language in the US, although it is foreign to most hearing English speakers. Sign language is a great language to learn as it opens up great opportunities to get to know so many people within our own country as well as many wonderful career opportunities. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) private companies are required to provide "reasonable accommodations" to the deaf which creates more opportunities for those who love ASL to find fulfilling careers.

Whether you are learning to communicate with a friend or to improve your work options everyone learning American Sign Language has to start with the fundamentals. We’ve gathered some useful and free study resources for learning ASL.
RESOURCES
1

The Flight of the Travel Bee

The blog named The Flight of the Travel Bee is a documentation of Cherie King's journeys, a deaf travel blogger who enjoys wandering the world and writing about it. As a deaf person she has faced many challenges while traveling that you would certainly learn a lot from. She also appeared in Apple's iPad air commercial.

2

Karen Putz

Karen is a deaf woman, mother of three children. She is the author of six books about deafness, challenges, life as a deaf woman, and barefoot skiing. She has also contributed in other books and has appeared in the TV many times. This is her website where she posts her writings and experiences in her life and her passions.

3

The Limping Chicken

The Limping Chicken is a very active deaf news blog edited by journalist Charlie Swinbourne, publishing articles by deaf people from UK and all over the world. Also, Charlie is known for spotting the fake interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service that was broadcasted live and seen by millions of people. Make sure to follow The Limping Chicken for news related to deafness and articles written by deaf people all over the world.

4

William Vicars

This is Bill's YouTube channel, where you can find tons of videos in ASL. He demonstrates the signs you need to communicate in ASL. His videos are well known and well received in the deaf community. These videos have basic tips on sign language and everything you need to learn about the sign language.

5

Signing Savvy

Signing Savvy offers free sign language videos and free browsing of words and letters in the language of signs. A very useful tool, like an online dictionary, for people who are willing to learn the language and for the deaf community. The website exists since 2009 and the team that run the site are active by writing blog posts and maintaining the website.

6

Deaf Firefly

Donna is a deaf British poet known as the Deaffirefly. Her website is made of her works known as BSL poetry, which is poetry expressed in British sign language. With her blog posts and poetry she wants to describe what she calls "the silly world from a deaf perspective". There are also videos of her performances in her website. As an active blogger and a passionate writer she never fails to keep her readers updated with her writings.

7

Stephen Goforth

Deaf News Today was found by former CNN journalist Stephen Goforth who is now a professor of journalism. This website provides deaf-related news. It consists of a large list of blog posts related to deafness, ASL and anything else that might concern the deaf community.

8

Lipreading Mom

Shanna Groves, the Lipreading Mom, is a mother of three. Ever since she lost her hearing, she gave effort to her lip-reading abilities, so she could have it easier to communicate with her kids. Now she has written two books about lip-reading, which can be found on her website where she also gives lip-reading tips. The "Show me your ears" page of her website is quite interesting and definitely worth checking out.

9

Sign 4 Baby

Sign4Baby is a website primary focused on teaching the sign language to kids from a young age. Their blog is pretty active and includes articles about baby sign language posted on a regular basis. Parents of deaf children can find this site very helpful.

10

Hands & Voices

Hands and voices is a group of parents of ASL signers, cued speech users. It's a non-profit organization that supports families of deaf children. In this website there is some brief information about ASL, and recommended books and website for learning the sign language. They also offer training and courses for families, parents, and professionals in their journey to raising awareness about dealing with deafness and other hearing problems.

11

All deaf

Alldeaf.com is a forum for the deaf and hard of hearing people, where they can learn more about sign language, share stories and experiences, discuss about topics that concern them, share knowledge and resources, or simply chat or make new friends. The forum members are very active in the forum and support each other. You should definitely register and introduce yourself.

12

Fun Brain

The famous FunBrain website for kids also has a few games to help children learn sign language faster and have fun. Learn the sign language alphabet by choosing one of the correct signs that represent the letter.

13

ASL Free

This website has a very large number of sign animations to help you learn the language faster. Simply pick one random letter or word and see the animation. Or you can read the instructions on how to use the website and go through the lessons in their order.

14

ASL Pro

Online sign language dictionary with over 7000 videos. Simply pick the words on the left and watch the video to learn that sign. The dictionary also has a section with religious signs, conversational phrases, and ASL for babies.

15

Pinterest ASL Board

Pinterest board with pins related to sign language. Infographics, articles, art, videos, quotes, books, and a lot more. The board gets updated very often and there's a lot of great sign language content curation going on. If you use Pinterest, make sure to follow this board.

FACTS

Interesting Facts about Sign Language

Did you know that...

  • Although sign language existed for hundreds of years it was not formalized until the mid 1700’s at the Parisian School for Deaf.

  • Thomas Gallaudet founded the ASD on April 15, 1817. The first school for the deaf in the US.

  • ASL is a combination of French Sign Language and Sign language that the students, attending ASD, had taught themselves in their own homes and brought with them to the school. Although ASL and FSL share many words they are not interchangeable.

  • Sign language relies heavily on facial expression and physical emotion to convey meaning.

  • There are hundreds of sign language dialects all over the world.

  • To communicate with those that do not sign some who are deaf will; read lips, write with pen and paper, text message, email, and when available use video phone or relay through an interpreter.