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 - PLAN

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Comment on Dictionary Signs

Site News   |  Friday, July 17, 2009

By Brian Winn

You can now post comments on not only blog posts but also signs in the dictionary. Our hope is that this feature will allow you to better ask questions of and share your knowledge with your fellow Signing Savvy users.


To do read and post comments, you must be a registered guest or a member.


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The Simpsons Learn Sign Language

General Interest   |  Monday, July 13, 2009

By Jillian Winn

Just for fun - In a recent episode of the Simpsons, titled "The Good, The Bad, and the Drugly", the bully Nelson Muntz, used American Sign Language to fingerspell his trademark "Haw Haw!" laugh rather than vocalize it. Like all Simpsons characters, Nelson has just four digits, which makes his fingerspelling a bit unique. Nelson signs about 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the episode.


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Keeping Signing Savvy Family Friendly

Site News   |  Thursday, July 9, 2009

By Brian Winn

As of today, we have nearly 6500 words in the Signing Savvy dictionary. We are continuously updating our dictionary of signs. In fact, to date we have added around 100 new signs each month. Our goal is to have the most comprehensive video dictionary of signs on the web.

However, to be a complete dictionary you need to include words and phrases that some may consider mature. We are beginning to include mature words, not only because we want to have a complete dictionary of signs, but also because it is especially important for healthcare workers and patients, social workers, and educators to have access to this vocabulary.

Marking Mature Signs

Terms that may be considered mature are marked as mature in our dictionary. Mature signs are indicated with the graphic below the word. Labeling words and signs as "mature" can be subjective and we do our best to maintain the integrity of the Signing Savvy site and its audience.

Mature Signs for Visitors

If you are a visitor that does not have an account (or you are not logged in) you can search for mature words and the site will indicate that it is in the dictionary but you must be logged in to see the sign. Mature signs do not appear in the browse by letter lists.

Mature Signs for Registered Guests and Members

If you are a registered guest or a member, once you login, you have the option of showing mature signs or not. This can be set as a preference in your account info settings.

When you indicate that you do not want to see mature signs, the mature signs will not show up in the browse by letter list. If you search directly for a mature sign, the site will indicate that it is in the dictionary but you have chosen not to see mature signs.

When you indicate that you do want to see mature signs, the mature signs will show up both in the browse by letter list and when you search directly for them.

You can change your preferences depending on how you are using the site. For example, if you are demoing signs in the classroom, you may choose to not show mature signs. However, you may turn them back on at anytime.


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Baby Reviews Signing Savvy

Site News   |  Monday, June 29, 2009

By John Miller

Recently Signing Savvy served as a "real-world client" for an Apprentice-style project management class at Michigan State University. As part of the project, one group of students created an informative video walkthrough of some of the features of the Signing Savvy website and placed it on YouTube to help promote the site. The video is below.

Isn't Xavier cute!?!? I am sure his baby signing skills will increase rapidly now that he has found Signing Savvy, as well as his dancing. ;-)


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Signing People's Names in Sign Language

Signing People's Names in Sign Language

Learning Tips   |  Saturday, March 28, 2009

By John Miller

Signs for common names?

My name is John, which, as you can guess, is a pretty common name. The benefit of having a common name growing up is that whenever I went into a gift shop that had items with names on them, such as cups, buttons, belts, or what-have-you, I could always find one with my name on it. In sign langage, unlike the items in the gift shop, there is no sign for John. That is, there is no specific sign that can be used for everyone who has the name JOHN (or any other name).

Spelling out the name through fingerspelling

Since there is no common sign for a name, when refering to a person by name, you often just fingerspell it.

JOHN Fingerspelled

You can learn more about fingerspelling and the signed alphabet in the "Fingerspelling/Alphabet" section of the site. You can also have any name (or anything else) fingerspelled on Signing Savvy. Just type the name to be fingerspelled in the search box and click the "Find Signs" button.

searching for names

Since there is likely not going to be a sign for the name, the site will inform you that it was not able to find a sign, however you can have it fingerspelled. In this case, I clicked the "Have JOHN fingerspelled?" link.

search results

The resulting video shows the fingerspelling of my name.

fingerspelled name

If you are searching for a name that has another English meaning, such as "AUTUMN", you will see the sign for the non-name meaning. In this case, you want the fingerspelled version of AUTUMN not the sign for the season of the year. To see the fingerspelled version, just click on the "FS" button to the right of the word to switch to the fingerspelled version.

selecting the fingerspelled version of a sign

Sign names

Fingerspelling your name can seem a bit impersonal, especially among friends. So, members of the Deaf community often give each other sign names. Your sign name is often related to something about you (a characteristic). For example, if you have curly hair, your sign name may be a combination of the first letter of your name and the sign for curly hair. Culturally, it is not appropriate to pick your own sign name and only Deaf people assign sign names. When you first use a sign name in a conversation, you would fingerspell the name and then show the sign name. Once the people know who you are talking about, the sign name makes it easier and more personal to refer to the person during the conversation.

Pointing in space

When you are signing directly to someone, you often just sign YOU (point at him or her) to refer to the person you are talking with and ME (point at yourself) to refer to yourself. When you are talking about someone else who is NOT there, you can use a similar technique, called pointing in space. In this case, you would identify the person by fingerspelling their name (or describing them, such a "my father"), and then pointing at a location in space (usually to the left or right of you.) The first point marks the space that represents the person you named. Afterwhich, when refering to the person in the conversation, you can just point to the location you marked. This is another big time saver when refering to someone many times during a conversation.

pointing in space


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