Learning Tips Articles

Showing TENSE while signing ASL

Showing TENSE while signing ASL

By John Miller
Thursday, January 12, 2012

One thing that many new signers struggle with is how to show tense (past, present and future) while signing. In ASL, you don't sign words like went or going or suffixes like "ing", "ed" or "s". By including the sign NOW at the beginning of a sentence, you can clarify the sentence is in the present tense. English Version: I am going to the store. ASL Version: NOW + STORE + I + GO. By including the sign PAST or BEFORE ...
Tips for Learning Sign Language in Your Natural Environment

Tips for Learning Sign Language in Your Natural Environment

By John Miller
Saturday, December 10, 2011

One of the most common questions I get from people who are first learning sign language is, "How do you remember so many new words? It's overwhelming!" It is; and unless you plan on incorporating it into your everyday life, it won't stick with you. Often sign language instructors will divide sign vocabulary up into categories like household items, food, family, colors, shapes etc... Doing this helps you to categorize the words and file them into your memory bank that way. ...
A look at signing family members: The sign of the day theme from the last week

A look at signing family members: The sign of the day theme from the last week

By Jillian Winn
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You may have noticed a theme across the signs of the day in the last week. We asked our Twitter followers for suggestions for the sign of the day and someone suggested we try week-long themes. Although we will not be using a theme every week for the sign of the day, we thought it was a great idea to start incorporating a theme occasionally. We choose family members for our first sign of the day theme, from Wednesday, September ...
There is Not a Sign for Every English Word

There is Not a Sign for Every English Word

By John Miller
Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Question: I am looking for the sign for word (insert word) and cannot find it. Answer: There is not a sign for every word in the English dictionary. However, there is usually a sign for most concepts expressed in English. Conceptually correctness is the key. If you are trying to find a sign on Signing Savvy, first think about the meaning behind what you want to say. If you search for a word and either no sign comes up or the sign ...
Misconception: There is only one sign language

Misconception: There is only one sign language

By John Miller
Monday, April 18, 2011

Question: Is sign language universal throughout the world? ...and if not, why don't we just make it that way since it would make the world have at least one language that everyone could understand and use? Answer: Unfortunately sign language is NOT universal throughout the world. There is American Sign Language, British Sign Language, Spanish Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language, Ausian (Australian Sign Language) and many more. In fact, there are even multiple sign languages used in the United States (American ...
Addressing Top Signing Misconceptions

Addressing Top Signing Misconceptions

By John Miller
Sunday, April 17, 2011

My next few blog posts are going to focus on the "TOP MISCONCEPTIONS" or questions that I seem to get asked about on weekly basis either in person or from users of the site. For those of you that go back and read old blogs these may sound familiar but they still seem to come up, so I thought I would readdress them and maybe word them a little differently to see if we can make them more easily ...
Signing is like being a thesaurus

Signing is like being a thesaurus

By John Miller
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am often asked "I can't find the sign for....." And it will be words like FINALIZATION or SUMMARIZATION. My answer is often...."It is there." You may not get a result when you search for FINALIZATION, but that does not mean you are out of luck. Unlike the spelling in the English language where one spelling is equal to one word, sign language is different. There are many signs that can mean more than one word. We ...
The Importance of Facial Expressions

The Importance of Facial Expressions

By John Miller
Sunday, October 3, 2010

Facial expression plays a very important part in the meaning of a sign. The same exact hand-shape and movement can totally change meaning because of the facial expression that is used to accompany it. One example of this is the word MUCH. The degree of how much can totally be determined by the facial expression alone while the sign stays the same. Other examples would be the words INTERESTING and FUNNY. Both of these words can be changed to ...
The difference between ASL and English signs

The difference between ASL and English signs

By John Miller
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One question many new signers ask me is: "What is the difference between ASL signs and English signs?" and "What does it mean to have an initialized sign?" These are two really good questions. It is important to understand the difference, particularly when signing to a member of the Deaf community. Some background information You may have noticed that sometimes people are referred as deaf (little d) and other times as Deaf (big D). ...
Directional Verbs

Directional Verbs

By John Miller
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There are a group of verbs that are often referred to as Directional Verbs. These are also known as Indexical verbs or Verb Agreement. These verbs do just what the term suggests; they show directionality. They do this by using an element of motion that indicates one or more referents (see post on Setting Up People, Places, and Things for more on referents). These verbs can be used pretty simply by setting people up, then using ...