An ASL Dictionary

Signing Savvy is a sign language dictionary containing several thousand high resolution videos of American Sign Language (ASL) signs, fingerspelled words, and other common signs used within the United States and Canada.

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Signing Savvy is an ideal resource to use while you learn sign language. It includes the ability to view large sign videos, build your own word lists and share them with others, create virtual flash cards and quizzes, print signs, build sign phrases, ...and more

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Signing Children’s Books: Corduroy

Learning Tips   |  Friday, May 17, 2019

By John Miller

This article is part of our “Signing Children’s Books” series, which highlights children’s books and pairs them with pre-built Signing Savvy word lists to help you get started with learning and signing the vocabulary in the book. Reading and literacy is so important. By sharing these pre-built word lists, we hope to cut down on prep time for families that are just beginning to learn ASL and hope you can find more comfort in sharing literacy with our young deaf children.

Signing Children's Books: Corduroy

Corduroy by Don Freeman is a beloved classic. It is about a cute, little bear in a department store that so wants to find his forever home with a child. A little girl finds him and wants to bring him home. However, the girl's mother says Corduroy doesn't look new because he is missing a button. The story’s adventures unfold from there.

Corduroy was named one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time by the School Library Journal and also “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” by the National Education Association. There are several different lessons that can be covered through the telling of this story. You will find many different activities on teaching sites and sites like Pinterest that will give you plenty of follow-up things to do with this book. 

If you like the book, the adventures of Corduroy continue in several other Corduroy books!

Get the Pre-Built Word List for this Book!

I hope through the Corduroy word list you will feel confident to share this story with your children. You can also bring up signs on the Signing Savvy Member App using the pre-built word list as you go through the book.

Word List for Corduroy

View word list of ASL signs for the book Corduroy

Related Books:

  

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be exactly the same regardless, but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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Signing Children’s Books: Little Brown

Learning Tips   |  Friday, May 10, 2019

By John Miller

This article is part of our “Signing Children’s Books” series, which highlights children’s books and pairs them with pre-built Signing Savvy word lists to help you get started with learning and signing the vocabulary in the book. Reading and literacy is so important. By sharing these pre-built word lists, we hope to cut down on prep time for families that are just beginning to learn ASL and hope you can find more comfort in sharing literacy with our young deaf children.

Signing Children's Books: Little Brown

Little Brown by Marla Frazee is a delightful little story about dogs and their goofy behavior. Most children love dogs. They love to play with them and watch them as they play with other dogs. This is a book all about dogs and the funny ways they interact together.

Little Brown is one cranky canine because no one ever plays with him at the animal shelter. Or maybe no one ever plays with him because he is cranky. Either way, Little Brown decides today is the day to take action, so he takes all of the toys and sticks and blankets from all of the dogs at the shelter and won’t give them back. But what will happen next?

Extension Actvities

You can find more ideas for actvities related to dogs on Pinterest. Here are some activities from Pinterest to check out for inspiration:

  


Get the Pre-Built Word List for this Book!

I hope through the Little Brown word list you will feel confident to share this story with your children. You can also bring up signs on the Signing Savvy Member App using the pre-built word list as you go through the book.

 

Word List for Little Brown

View word list of ASL signs for the book Little Brown

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be exactly the same regardless, but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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Living Loud: Clayton Valli – ASL Linguist, Poet, Scholar, Teacher, and Author

Deaf Culture   |  Sunday, May 5, 2019

By Marta Belsky

This article is by Marta Belsky. Marta is a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 30 years and enjoys sharing her native language with new users.

This article is part of our "Living Loud" series, which highlights famous people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their impact in the world.

Clayton Valli
Clayton Valli (Photo Credit: Clayton Valli “Nurturing ASL Literature”)

American Sign Language (ASL) is its own beautiful and rich language that has its own unique grammar and syntax. This was proven by linguists at Gallaudet University in the mid-twentieth century. Since then, more aspects of ASL have been defined, including ASL literature. ASL Literature is defined as creative works that have stood the test of time and reflect the deaf experience. These can be visual works, folk lore, plays, legends, or even personal experiences. One significant genre is poetry. These signed works tell stories in visual ways and also have elements of poetry, just like written poetry.

Clayton Valli was a notable ASL poet and linguist who identified aspects of ASL poetry and was a significant community member who contributed to the growing legitimacy of ASL. On May 25, 1951 Clayton L Valli was born deaf in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was named after his father and had two brothers and two sisters.

Education: First PhD in ASL Poetry

Valli earned his high school diploma from the Austine School for the Deaf in 1971, at the age of 20. The school was located in Brattleboro, Vermont. The first of many degrees that Valli earned during his lifetime was an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Photography from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Next, he finished a B.A. in Social Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. His further endeavors led him to Gallaudet University, the only Liberal Arts College for the Deaf in the world. He earned his master’s degree in Linguistics from Gallaudet in 1985. He also later worked at the school as a professor of linguistics and interpreting. After his master's degree, Valli went on to earn a doctorate degree from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the first person to receive a Ph.D. in Linguistics and ASL Poetics.

“ ASL poetry has two hands you can use to express yourself and they can both be doing separate things, which can add a depth to the message that spoken poetry can’t do when you only have one tongue to use.
     - Clayton Valli

He gave a lecture on his dissertation at the second National American Sign Language Literature Conference in Rochester, New York. The conference took place March 28-31, 1996. During this presentation Valli expounds on his findings on ASL rhyme and meter in poetry. Valli compared rhyme in a written/spoken language poetry piece to repetition of signs or hand shapes in a visual language. Meter, or stressed and unstressed syllables within words being manipulated, was compared to the innate holds and moves of signs with ASL. He also talked about the richness of ASL poetry in contrast to written poetry. “ASL poetry has two hands you can use to express yourself and they can both be doing separate things, which can add a depth to the message that spoken poetry can’t do when you only have one tongue to use.”2 Valli told the audience about how ASL in its very nature, being a visual language, has more parts that make it a vibrant form of communication.

Scholar of ASL Linguistics

In addition to poetry, his career focused on Sociolinguistics, or the study of how language, such as structure and word choice is impacted by a person’s background, like race, gender, or geographic location. He did presentations and workshop around the US and Canada, teaching people about his findings.

Through his work on ASL linguistics, he authored several books and numerous articles. He co-authored a linguistics textbook specific to ASL titled, Linguistics of American Sign Language, which has been edited and revised many times. Valli also co-wrote three other large works: What’s Your Sign For Pizza?, Language Contact in the American Deaf Community, and Sociolinguistic Variation in American Sign Language. In addition to these, he also worked as an editor for the Gallaudet University Press, including serving as the editor of the textbook The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language.

Renowned Poet

Valli was a proponent of showing the legitimacy of ASL as a language and ASL poetry as a valid part of ASL Literature, even though there is not necessarily a written form. Additionally, Valli was an ASL poet himself. He wrote and performed many poems including Dandelions, I’m Sorry, My Favorite Old Summer House, Mushroom, and Snowflake, as well as many others.

Watch Valli's Dandelions Poem:

Since the first recording of sign language in 1913 by Veditz, the use of film and video has been an important way to capture and preserve sign language. Valli is no exception to this, as his collection of poetry titled, ASL Poetry: Selected Work of Clayton Valli is not printed in a book but is only available in DVD format, so it can be viewed in its origin language.

Continued Legacy

Though Valli died from complications related to AIDS in 2003, his work and influence is still significant in the Deaf community even today. His written and signed works continue to be a source of education and entertainment. His textbooks are still used in classrooms and universities today. His poems are studied, analyzed and recreated by students every year. Valli work also inspired other Deaf artists including Bernard Bragg and Nancy Rourke, the notable deaf painter.

Clayton Valli
The artwork above was created by Deaf painter Nancy Rourke in 2011. The painting on the left was inspired by Valli’s poem Dandelions. The image in the middle shows how his hand movement from the ASL poem inspired the artwork. The painting on the right is of Valli himself. (Photo Credit: Nancy Rourke, 2001. Deaf Art:Valli's Dandelions and Clayton Valli.

Additionally, there are two memorial scholarships in his name at his alma mater and former workplace, Gallaudet University, for students perusing their education. He is greatly missed by the deaf community but his impact as a linguist, poet, scholar, teacher, and author still continues.

DVDs:

Books:

  

 

Resources

  1. Sign Language Studies (2003). In memoriam: Clayton L. Valli. Sign Language Studies, 3(4), 504-505.

  2. [ASLit 4ever]. (2018, April 11). Clayton Valli “Nurturing ASL Literature” [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIr8gYX1fsE

  3. Lapiak, J. (n.d.). Clayton Valli. HandSpeak. Retrieved from 
    https://www.handspeak.com/study/index.php?id=95

  4. MSM Productions, Ltd. (n.d.). Clayton L. Valli. Deaf People. Retrieved from https://www.deafpeople.com/history/history_info/valli.html 

  5. The Washington Post. (2003, March 11). Dr. Clayton L. Valli Obituary. Retrieved from: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?fhid=4699&n=clayton-l-valli&pid=852032

  6. Rourke, N. (n.d.). Deaf Art: Valli’s Dandelions. Retrieved from https://www.nancyrourke.com/vallisdandelions.htm

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be exactly the same regardless, but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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About the Author

Marta Belsky Marta Belsky is a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 30 years and enjoys sharing her native language with new users. Marta is on the Lansing Community College Interpreter Training Program Advisory Board and has also been a board member for the Michigan Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the Michigan Chapter of American Sign Language Teachers Association.

More about Marta  |  Articles by Marta

Signing Children’s Books: Maisy’s Colors

Learning Tips   |  Tuesday, April 30, 2019

By John Miller

This article is part of our “Signing Children’s Books” series, which highlights children’s books and pairs them with pre-built Signing Savvy word lists to help you get started with learning and signing the vocabulary in the book. Reading and literacy is so important. By sharing these pre-built word lists, we hope to cut down on prep time for families that are just beginning to learn ASL and hope you can find more comfort in sharing literacy with our young deaf children.

Signing Children's Books: Maisy's Colors

Maisy’s Colors by Lucy Cousins is chunky book that is simple and filled with colors for little ones just beginning to learn about the world. It combines colorful pictures with simple illustrations that capture the young reader's eye. As very young children's eye sight develops, they learn to enjoy color more and more. This book will be a book that appeals to children when they are very young, yet stay with them as they grow and begin to read.

Learning Colors in ASL

We have two handouts on signing color in ASL that you can also use as a reference when reading this book. The first one is a reference for signing all of the colors in ASL and the second color handout is meant to inspire you to think about the colors in the food rainbow.

Colors in American Sign Language (ASL)  Colors of the Food Rainbow in American Sign Language (ASL)

Extension Actvities

Kids love to learn through food, so talking about the colors of different foods and tasting them is a great activity for little ones. Some of my favorite food rainbow recipes are ones that highlight the beautiful, natural colors of food (instead of using food coloring). I love making popsicles filled with fruit and wrote an article with the recipe and related signs. Check out the article Cooking Up Language with Signs: Frozen Fruit Popsicles Recipe. You can make popsicles that are any color of the rainbow, just by selecting fruit to put in them that is the color you want… strawberries (red), melon (orange or green), pineapple (yellow), kiwis (green), blueberries (blue), grapes (purple or green)… the possibilities are endless AND tasty! Kids love the opportunity to make choices, like what fruits to add to popsicles, and they love tasting the results even more.

Cooking Up Language With Signs Recipe: Frozen Fruit Popsicles

You can find more ideas for actvities related to colors or the food rainbow on Pinterest. Here are some recipes from Pinterest to check out for inspiration:

 


Get the Pre-Built Word List for this Book!

I hope through the Maisy’s Colors word list you will feel confident to share this story with your children. You can also bring up signs on the Signing Savvy Member App using the pre-built word list as you go through the book.

 

Word List for Maisy’s Colors

View word list of ASL signs for the book Maisy's Colors

Related Books:

  

Signing Savvy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking signingsavvy.com to Amazon properties. That means Signing Savvy may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link, your cost will be exactly the same regardless, but Signing Savvy will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us continue to improve Signing Savvy!

 

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Living Loud: Allen Snare – Deaf Pastor, Evangelist, and Missionary

Deaf Culture   |  Sunday, April 14, 2019

By Brenda Cartwright

This article is by Brenda Cartwright. Brenda is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, and well known presenter. Brenda is the author of the Dear Reality column in the VIEWS publication from Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the book Encounters With Reality: 1001 Interpreter Scenarios. She will be contributing blog articles for Signing Savvy on interpreting, Deaf culture, and answering a series of "Dear BC" interpreter questions.

This article is part of our "Living Loud" series, which highlights famous people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their impact in the world.

Allen Snare was born Deaf with his hearing twin sister Faye on April 14, 1947. Allen grew up in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, with his three brothers and three sisters who were all hearing. He attended the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia and he loved it! He had full access to communication at school. However, access at church was a different story.

Allen Snare
Allen Snare during an interview. (Photo Credit: Jim Bracelin. Testimony of a Deaf Man.)

Allen grew up attending church with no interpreter. He was clueless of what was being said, until one day, in 1968, when he was invited to a church hosting a week-long revival conference. It just so happened they had an interpreter. That was the first time Allen was exposed to an interpreter. Bill Rice III was a visiting Pastor from the Bill Rice Ranch, a ministry with a goal of reaching the deaf through local revival meetings, regional events, and camps. Bill’s wife Mary interpreted while Bill preached that day. "When Bill Rice asked me if I was saved I told him 'I never heard of that before'; even though I grew up in church my whole life. Once Bill Rice explained who Jesus was and how he died on the cross to save us from our sins, so that we can go to heaven and not hell, I got saved..."3 Allen finally understood what being saved meant.

Allen was convinced to go to Bible college when he saw an ad for it in the Branding Iron, a newspaper for the deaf from the Bill Rice Ranch. Allen went in 1971, but he felt out of place with only eight other deaf people. In 1975, Allen graduated from Tennessee Temple in Chattanooga. Allen was debating between preaching and becoming a missionary; he felt God called him to be a preacher.

Allen pastored in many deaf churches in Texas, Colorado, Alabama, and Ohio. When Allen was living in Texas, he went to Colorado to host a camp revival for a week. While Allen was there, the interpreter introduced him to a nice deaf woman named Debbie. When Allen returned the following Fall, he asked the congregation after he finished preaching who would like to be saved and Debbie came forward. When Debbie got saved, Allen knew she was the one. He and Debbie started dating and they got married on July 22, 1978.

Allen teamed up with Bill Rice III again, the man who first introduced him to an interpreter and helped him to understand the meaning of being saved, when he played the lead role in the movie When Silence Speaks. The movie was produced by Bill Rice III and released by Bill Rice Films Production in 1994. It was a fictional Christian movie about a deaf man, Gordy, played by Allen, searching to understand the meaning of the cross. Allen’s son, John, also was in the movie in the role of a young Gordy.

“ My Heart’s Desire Is To See More Deaf People Saved.
     - Allen Snare

Allen pastored in Pennsylvania for 12 years at Faith Baptist Church in Fairless Hills; he thought he would preach there until he died. However, God had other plans; he was let go from that position.

Allen reached out to Ted Camp, the founder of Silent Word Ministries and told him he was called to serve with him at Silent Word Ministries. At first Ted was hesitant, so they both prayed about it for a week. Allen contacted him a week later stating "God still wants me to join your ministry."3 Ted agreed and Allen and his wife moved to Georgia to start serving for Silent Word Ministries in 2000. Allen is still a full-time missionary with Silent Word Ministries. He travels wherever he is called. He’s been to ten different countries for missionaries and to preach at revival meetings.

Sadly, Debbie was diagnosed with colon cancer the year he started with Silent Deaf Ministries. She fought cancer for five years and in 2006, Debbie passed away. Together they raised a wonderful family. They had three children. Their daughter Joy is hearing, and their two sons, John and Justin, are deaf. Allen is now a grandfather of three. He has one deaf granddaughter and a hearing grandson and granddaughter. They all know sign language.

You can find Allen’s testimony as well as preaching videos on YouTube. He plans to serve the rest of his days as a deaf evangelist to honor his mission statement: "My Heart’s Desire Is To See More Deaf People Saved."

Resources

  1. Barr, Jon. Introducing Allen Snare. Silent Word Ministries, Retrieved from: http://newspaper.silentwordministries.org/article/introducing-allen-snare/

  2. Barr, Jon (2017, September 5,). Monthly Prayer Letters. Silent Word Ministries. Retrieved from: http://silentwordministries.org/2017/09/05/2017-09-sept/

  3. Bracelin, Jim [Jim Bracelin]. (2014, June 5). Testimony of a Deaf Man [Video File.] Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMwGbDXgRa4

  4. Bracelin, Jim (2018, April 4). Monthly Prayer Letters. Silent Word Ministries. Retrieved from: http://silentwordministries.org/2018/04/06/2018-04-apr/

  5. Silent Word Ministries. Our Mission Team. Silent Word Ministries. Retrieved from: http://silentwordministries.org/missionteam/

  6. When Silence Speaks. IMBd. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1732762/

 

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About the Author

Brenda CartwrightBrenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

More about BC  |  Articles by BC

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