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.

And Much More!

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

Sign of the Day - EYE

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Switched at Birth entirely in American Sign Language TONIGHT Monday, March 4

General Interest   |  Monday, March 4, 2013

By Jillian Winn

Tune into the television show Switched at Birth tonight (Monday, March 4th), to see the new episode "Uprising" told entirely in American Sign Language (ASL). It airs at 8/7 central time on ABC Family. It will be the first show on mainstream television to air in entirely ASL. The episode will have open captions for hearing viewers.

The storyline was inspired by protests that happened 25 years ago this March at Gallaudet University. The real-life "Deaf President Now" protests began on March 6, 1988 when the Gallaudet Board of Trustees appointed its seventh hearing president. The protests ended seven days later, on March 13th, after the first Deaf university president, I. King Jordan was appointed.

In the new Switched at Birth "Uprising" episode Daphne leads a demonstration after learning the Carlton School for the Deaf may close.

Switched at Birth is a one-hour television show about two teenagers who were switched at birth. One of the teenagers is deaf and the show incorporates sign language into most episodes. The show was first aired in June 2011 and is now in it's second season.

Check out the all ASL episode tonight to see the beauty of sign language in action!

For more information see the Video on Switched at Birth's All-ASL Episode.

To catch up on any episodes you may have missed, you can watch Switched At Birth online at the xfinity TV Switched at Birth webpage or the ABC Family Switched at Birth website.

 

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Teaching Young Children to Sign

Teaching Tips   |  Monday, February 25, 2013

By John Miller

I have had several questions about how to teach young children to sign recently, so I wanted to repost an article I wrote back in 2009 (with a few modifications), which answers many of the questions.

Research has shown that a child's muscles in the hands and fingers develop at a faster rate than those in the mouth and jaw. This shows us that a child is better equipped at a young age to sign before they can speak. And children certainly can understand language long before they can speak. Because of this many people are choosing to teach their infants to use sign language as an early form of communication, oftern refered to as "baby signing". It has been known to cut down on the amount of frustration on the part of an infant trying to communicate with their parents/caregivers.

Many people's questions then are: "How do we teach a young child to sign (deaf or hearing) in a way that is fun and productive?"

My answer: Through play! I had the pleasure of watching a young, 3-year-old, deaf child play yesterday while I met with her teacher and parents during a yearly meeting for the child's education. I watched this cute little preschooler interacting rather naturally with the toys in the dramatic play area (toy kitchen, doctor kit, etc…). She was using the play microwave and placing the plastic food on a plate and "warming it up" for us. Using one hand to punch the keys on the keypad as she counted off the numbers with the other. Then she took the spaghetti out of the microwave telling us to be CAREFUL and to wait because it was HOT. The teacher prompted the child to tell us what the food was that was on the plate, to which the child answered SPAGHETTI rather matter-a-factly!

The child went to play for a good 30 minutes giving us each SHOTS from her doctor kit and telling us not to CRY, etc…. The language used and expressed by this child was amazing and it was all done through play!

Signing Savvy can help with this educational/play experience by using the printing options to create word cards for you to use at home during your play with your child. By having the food signs printed on cards that can be exchanged when you "order your food" and having the child match up the sign to the food, a child will become familiar with the signs for the toys they interact with daily. Create a menu that not only has the food signs on it but some common phrases like, "Can I take your order?" or "Thank you, please come again".

Another playful activity is to play "sign and seek", where you first introduce a few objects and the sign for the objects to your child. Then you scatter the objects around the room.  After which, you show the sign for an object and ask your child to bring it to you.  If you are learning sign language yourself, the Signing Savvy Member App on a mobile device, such as an iPad, is a great way to quickly look up sign videos while playing this game. You could even make a word list of all the objects in your room prior to playing, so you have quick access while you play.

Have fun with it….you'll be amazed how quickly your child (and you) will be using sign throughout your playful day!

 

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Learning Tips   |  Thursday, February 14, 2013

By John Miller

We hope you have a great Valentine's Day! This is a reposting of our blog post from last Valentine's day. It does a great job of covering all the different ways to show LOVE... in sign language that is!

Tell your Valentine I Love You in American Sign Language (ASL)

Many people know and use the sign for I LOVE YOU. This sign is used universal throughout the country and the world. We see it all over television, at sporting events and during "shout outs" to our mothers. The sign is actually the combination of the fingerspelled letters I, L and Y.

The ASL signs for I L and L are combined to sign I Love You.

I have had people ask why the sign looks similar to the one that some people hold up at rock concerts, where the thumb is held down and the pointer finger and the little finger are held up. It is NOT the same. Remember, the thumb of the Y hand has to be present in order for you to be signing the I LOVE YOU sign.

Another sign that gets confused with the I LOVE YOU sign is the Hawaiian "shaka" sign meaning aloha, hang loose, or right on. Interestingly, this is also the ASL sign for YELLOW. Again, this is a different sign, as it leaves out the pointer finger. It is basically just shaking the Y hand.

Signs that do not mean I Love You.

The actual sign for LOVE is both arms folded across the chest. That is to show love or have love for another person or animal, etc.

Love in American Sign Language

Another sign for LOVE that you will see on the site is the kissing of the back of the S hand, then pulling it away from the mouth. This is a sign that is generally used to show a passion for something, like a certain type of food or a type of music.

Love in American Sign Language

Some people have asked why we don’t list the I LOVE YOU sign under the sign for LOVE on our site. It is because they are different signs and we don’t want new signers to confuse the single I LOVE YOU handshape with the general meanings and uses of the word LOVE. We don’t want you to confuse the signs and use the I LOVE YOU sign in a place where you really mean to just say LOVE.

An example of this would be this sentence: My mother loves to travel. You wouldn’t want to say: MOTHER + MINE + I LOVE YOU + TRAVEL (It just doesn’t make sense.) You need to use the sign LOVE there.

Another example sentence: I love to eat deep dish pizza! You wouldn’t want to say: PIZZA + THICK + I LOVE YOU + EAT. You need to use the kissing the back of the hand version of LOVE in this instance.

I hope that clears up some of your LOVE issues! Spread the LOVE and Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Signing Savvy!

 

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The Use of an Assistance Dog for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

General Interest   |  Thursday, January 31, 2013

By John Miller

Dog ImageMany people have heard of individuals using dogs to assist them with their visual difficulties, but the use of dogs for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing is less understood by the general public. Hearing dogs for the deaf alert their owners to sounds, both inside and outside of the home. Some deaf people also choose to get hearing dogs for safety reasons.

The general public's lack of understanding about dogs for the deaf has been known to cause a problem for some hearing dog owners.  Some restaurants or stores where the owners are not aware of the current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws, have either told deaf owners to leave their dog outside, or refused them service. Some have even gone as far as saying, "You clearly aren’t blind! Why do you need a dog?"

These dogs are assistance dogs that have been very well trained and are not just your average pet with a vest on them.  It is the owner’s responsibility to keep them well groomed and to monitor their behavior, but because of the extensive screening and training process these dogs go through, disruptive behavior is rarely a problem. These dogs are trained to alert their owners of different sounds such as a siren, fire alarm, crying baby, telephone, or car horn. It is through the use of these dogs that many deaf people say they become more independent and interactive with their surroundings. The dogs are trained to learn obedience, correct response to sounds, and how to respond to voice and hand signals.

There are resources out there to educate yourself about assistance dogs of all types and the laws that apply to them. Assistance / service dogs have also been known to work with individuals dealing with mobility assistance, seizure alert, medical alert, autism and psychiatric issues.

Find out more:

Related Books:

Sound Friendships: The Story of Willa and Her Hearing Dog
By Elizabeth Yates

The story of Willa Macy, who lost her hearing when she was 14, and Honey, a golden retriever, who helped her to discover a new world of independence and security. It is also a story about Hearing Dogs - their background, training, special abilities, and the unique relationship they develop with their owners.

Luke and his hearing-ear dog, Herald
By Andrea Zoll and Arlene Garcia

A book for children about a deaf 9-year-old boy Luke and his hearing dog.

 

Lend Me an Ear: The Temperament, Selection and Training of the Hearing Ear Dog
By Martha Hoffman

Written by a hearing dog trainer, the book includes tips, trainer's secrets, and why hearing dogs are the fastest-growing facet of the assistance dog industry.

 

 

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Happy Birthday and Member App Update

Site News   |  Sunday, January 20, 2013

By Jillian Winn

We launched Signing Savvy in January 2009 with the goal of creating a comprehensive online sign language resource.  Over the last four years the site has grown dramatically in content, features, and usage.  We are so grateful for the support of all of our active users.  It is you, our users, that make Signing Savvy so special. We particularly are thankful for our full members who allow us to continue to grow and maintain the site and enhance its features.  As we celebrate the end of our fourth year, we are thrilled about the things to come in 2013 and beyond!

With that said, we are excited to announce that a new version of the Signing Savvy Member App for both Apple iOS devices and Android devices is now available. This long anticipated update addresses all known issues with the previous version, enhances the interface, adds additional sign information, and allows for searching of dates, times, and currency.  And, most notably, the app now takes advantage of the iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 5 Retina display, and Android tablet display if you are on one of those devices.  The Signing Savvy Member App is for Signing Savvy full members.  If you are not yet a full member, you can still use the app to easily check the Sign of the Day on your mobile device.

Signing Savvy on Mobile

 

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