Hi, I’m Wynter, I’m Deaf and fluent in ASL (American Sign Language). I get a lot of people telling me they want to learn to sign, but not knowing exactly where to start. So, I am here to provide that!
Let’s start off with some basics, though. ASL does NOT follow English grammar (Signed Exact English/SEE does, but it is not ASL), it only uses English words and a lot of the communication with singing is done via facial expression and body language. Basically, it goes in the order of time > topic > comment. For example, “ I am going to pet dogs next week” would be “next week dogs me pet”, but there are quite a few variants and every person who signs will have a different way of doing this. Sort of how people who speak English in different parts of America have an accent and different ways to sign things. The most important thing to note about ASL is that *American* Sign Language is not universal. Most languages have their own form of SL and a lot of the word signs/alphabets are not at all the same. Another note, learning SEE may seem easier at first, but it can actually make the transition to ASL grammar that much more difficult. An example of differing signs is BSL (British Sign Language) vs ASL.
This is the BSL finger alphabet:
And this is the American one:
So while there is a small bit of crossover, it is very, very different! Don’t get me wrong, a lot of times signers will understand each other at least a little bit, but it does need to be noted that signs can differ by language, country, region, and sometimes person.
Now, onto what you came for…
*Note: if you are going to be attending Deaf events, please make sure you familiarise yourself with our culture!
- American Deaf Culture
- What is Deaf Culture?
- The Importance of Deaf Culture
- Deaf Culture vs Hearing Culture (NON-CC VIDEO)
- American Sign Language Finger Spelling
- Sign Word List for Finger Spelling
- Learn ASL: The Finger Spelling Alphabet for Beginners (CC VIDEO)
- ASL Finger Spelling Word Printer (gives you the finger spelling equivalent to what you type)!
- Finger Spelling Practice
- Sign Language Translator
*Note: The best way to learn is through Deaf people/other signers!
- A Day Through a Deaf Person’s Eyes (CC VIDEO)
- What Questions Annoy Deaf People? (CC VIDEO)
- Things Not to Say to a Deaf Person (CC VIDEO)
- Why I Don’t Sound Deaf (CC VIDEO)
- 13 Things my Hearing Friends Should Know (CC VIDEO)
- National Association of the Deaf
If you want a safe place to learn sign language (including ASL), I have created a Discord called Sign Language Learners! Come join and learn with other learners, Deaf/HoH people, and those curious kids who just want to know how the Deaf communicate.