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 - COOK
(as in verb, to cook)

All Articles

America’s Next Top Model Winner “Just Happens To Be Deaf”

Deaf Culture   |  Tuesday, December 8, 2015

By Jillian Winn

There are multiple reasons why 26-year-old Nyle DiMarco’s crown as the winner of American’s Next Top Model (ANTM) is significant (besides his good looks!) - he is the last winner of ANTM because this was the last season, he is only the second male winner out of 22 cycles, and he is Deaf.

Initially Nyle thought being Deaf would be an advantage in the modeling competition because American Sign Language (ASL) uses movement and facial expressions to convey meaning, which could help him to naturally be more expressive with his body when modeling. However, Nyle called the competition “tough fun” and said it took resilience to make it through the season and succeed. He said he felt isolated, experienced “language deprivation” during his two months competing on ANTM, and that the biggest challenge was not being able to use ASL, his native language. It was hard for him to communicate with the other models in the house and to keep up on what was going on. He said fellow model Lacey was almost the only person in the house that learned ASL (there were 14 contestants).

He especially felt at a disadvantage during a night shoot when they were camping. The shoot was in the woods in the complete dark and while the other models could hear cues, Nyle was unable to hear or see cues. Although it was a tough challenge for him, he survived elimination and went on to win the ANTM title.

Nyles is proud his ANTM journey is proof deaf people can do anything. One of his deaf friends was upset at the beginning of an episode where the contestants had to make a music video, “What the hell! That's not fair. The show is setting Nyle as a deaf contestant to fail!” But as the episode played out, he corrected himself, “Whoa! Nyle killed the music video! He proved them wrong!" Nyle’s reaction was: “Yeah! Deaf people can sing!”

Nyle hopes his exposure on ANTM will educate people on deafness, “Being deaf is not a disability, but a culture.” He explained that deaf people don’t need to be fixed. “We do have a culture. We have a beautiful language. We are achieving so much and society keeps missing these achievements and keeps thinking we still need to be fixed. This needs to stop and they need to shift their energy to something else.” He hopes the world will see his ANTM win and take notice - “deaf people are talented and capable of anything.”

As Tyra Banks said at the end of the show, “Nyle won America's Next Top Model and he just happens to be deaf.”



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Short Film from CNN Highlights a Deaf All-American Family

Deaf Culture   |  Monday, November 23, 2015

By Jillian Winn

With Thanksgiving this week, this short film from CNN does a nice job of highlighting what many of us are most thankful for - family. The short film, called “All-American Family” shares the story of the Pedersen family, a deaf family with deaf parents, two deaf sons, and one hearing son. It gives a glimpse into Deaf culture and what living in a Deaf family and Deaf community is like. If you’re a football fan, you will also like seeing the boys’ passion for football. If you have 15 minutes, watch this short film.

Watch the short film All-American Family on CNN

Link to video: Watch the video on CNN's website.


Unfortunately, the film does not currently include captions. We’ve typed up a transcript for you below:

Captions for CNN’s short film “All-American Family”

0:12 - 0:22 [Cheering]

0:27 - 0:56 Singing: And the rockets red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night
that our flag was still there
oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

1:06 [Cheering]

1:08 That’s a tails and that’s a heads. What’s your call?
The call is tails.
Ok. It is a tails.
You won the toss.
You want to differ.
So they want the ball?
They want the ball.
Ok, they want the ball.

1:24 [Cheering]

4:36 I don’t think I’ve ever wished that they could hear.
I think more, I’d wish that I could be deaf.
It’s like I feel like the odd one out.
I just didn’t get why I wasn’t like them.
It’s all they’ve ever known,
and they’re such like a community here.
And they like, they have a lot of pride.


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Cooking Up Language with Signs: Frozen Fruit Popsicles Recipe

Cooking Up Language with Signs: Frozen Fruit Popsicles Recipe

Teaching Tips   |  Wednesday, November 18, 2015

By John Miller

This article is part of our “Cooking Up Language With Signs” series, which features a recipe and accompanying sign language word list to get you started on an interactive cooking activity that is great for spicing up language learning at home or in the classroom.

What’s cookin’?

Today I’m cooking up Frozen Fruit Popsicles. These are so healthy AND tasty, kids will LOVE them! The recipe is simple to make and very easy to adjust to your personal preference and allergy/diet needs - just choose any fruit you like, add coconut water, and freeze. Viola! SO sweet, yet SO healthy!

If you want to make these for a baby or young children, but are concerned about the chunks of fruit in the popsicles, you can use the same recipe, but just toss the fruit and coconut water mixture in a blender to create a puree before freezing. You can use mini popsicle molds to make small popsicles that are great for snacks or desserts for little kids or relief for teething babies.

Cooking Up Language With Signs Recipe: Frozen Fruit Popsicles

Signing Savvy Member Feature: Download this image / flyer as a printable PDF page.

Health Benefits

Why make your own popsicles? Talk about how regular store bought popsicles have added artificial flavors, coloring, and excess sugar and discuss what that means. Here are a few talking points:

  • Many store bought popsicles have little or no nutritional value because they contain artificial flavoring instead of real fruit. Making popsicles using real fruit is better because fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals that are good for you.
  • Many store bought popsicles have lots of added sugar in them to make them extra sweet. Excess sugar isn’t good for you and also increases the amount of calories in the popsicles.
  • Sugar-free store bought popsicles are often sweetened with artificial sweetener instead of fruit juice.
  • Many store bought popsicles have artificial dye in them to make them bright, bold colors. Artificial dyes can be unhealthy and may also stain your teeth (or clothing).
  • Many store bought popsicles contain many ingredients that you may not even recognize - Sorbitol, Maltodextrin, Glycerin, Polydextrose, Sucralose, “gums” like Carob Bean Gum and Guar Gum - what are all these things? By making your own popsicles, you can make your favorite flavor and you know exactly what’s in it.

Making your own popsicles is a healthy treat. Fruits contain healthy vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. Talk about the health benefits of the fruits you choose to include in your popsicles. Here is an infographic on the health benefits of common fruits to use as a reference.


Enjoy making these healthy and tasty frozen fruit popsicles. Use the pre-built word list created to go along with the recipe to help you as you make this tasty recipe.

Frozen Fruit Popsicles




  1. Choose any type of fruit you like and prepare it by washing, peeling, or cutting it into bitable chunks, as needed.
  2. Add the prepared fruit of your choice to a bowl.
  3. Add the coconut water.
  4. Using a ladle, scoop out some fruit and coconut water from the bowl and place in popsicle trays. Freeze overnight for best results.

Get the Pre-Built Word List for this Recipe!

I hope through the Frozen Fruit Popsicles word list you will feel confident to cook up some language fun 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 recipe.

Word List for Frozen Fruit Popsicles

View word list of ASL signs for Frozen Fruit Popsicles

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Cooking Up Language with Signs: Language Learning and Teachable Moments Through Cooking

Cooking Up Language with Signs: Language Learning and Teachable Moments Through Cooking

Learning Tips   |  Wednesday, November 18, 2015

By John Miller

Why is cooking a good language learning activity?

Children find creating things with their own two hands very motivating. They get excited to see how they can be directly involved in the whole process. There is so much that can be taught through cooking activities in your classroom or home - from the choosing of the recipe, the shopping for the products at the grocery store (or a pretend grocery store), the prepping of the food, the actual cooking/baking, the sharing of the creation with others, and the debriefing (talking about what and how they made something).

You don’t have to make anything fancy or complex. In fact, using very simple recipes allows the focus of your cooking activity to be on language learning - sequencing and following directions, learning new vocabulary, describing and recalling information, and asking questions. Cooking activities are great one-on-one or as a group activity where everyone takes turns.

New series of articles focuses on language learning and teachable moments through cooking.

We are starting a new "Cooking Up Language with Signs" series, which features a recipe and accompanying Signing Savvy word list to get you started on an interactive cooking activity that is great for spicing up language learning at home or in the classroom. These activities provides teachers and parents with amazing language opportunities through teachable moments.

Teachable moments are everyday moments that happen throughout the day and open up prime opportunities for you to teach your students/children valuable language lessons. Hearing people learn so much through incidental learning (just overhearing conversations or discussions), but deaf children don’t have these opportunities because of the lack of hearing so we need to use teachable moments to directly teach these types of things.

Tips for the Cooking Activities

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you do these cooking activities.

1. Sign throughout the cooking activity.

Pick up and sign each ingredient. You can do this as a check list through the recipe to make sure you have everything you need before you get started. Food is always a great place to start, but sign everything, not just the ingredients! Sign the steps and pick up and sign the tools you are using too.

2. Use the recipe’s accompanying word list as guide to help you review the steps of the recipe and what signs you will be using.

You can also use the wordlist to print out the signs as a reference, or have your computer up with the wordlist while you are cooking.

3. Don’t limit yourself to the ingredients (or signs) in the recipe or word list!

You have the freedom to modify the recipe to your liking - swap out different ingredients like substituting a fruit in a recipe for your favorite fruit, or make changes to accommodate any allergy or dietary needs, and of course your personal preferences. Experimenting is part of the fun and the learning! Use Signing Savvy as a reference to look up any additional signs you may need.

Additionally, you can create your own word list if you want to customize the signs for the recipe based on the types of ingredients you choose to use.

4. Share your delicious treat with others and tell them, using sign language, how you made it!

5. After the cooking activity, you can also have the children use the digital flash cards or quizzing option on Signing Savvy to review the signs from the word list. You can also share your word list with others.

We hope you enjoy this series and all the tasty creations you make along the way!


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Interview with Switched at Birth Creator Lizzy Weiss

Interview with Switched at Birth Creator Lizzy Weiss

General Interest   |  Friday, October 16, 2015

By Jillian Winn

We are so excited to interview Lizzy Weiss, the creator of Switched at Birth!

About Switched at Birth

The TV show Switched at Birth is the first mainstream television series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing actors, as well as scenes shot entirely in American Sign Language (ASL). The ninth episode of the second season entitled "Uprising" made television history by becoming the first episode of a national mainstream television series to be told almost entirely in American Sign Language.

Switched at Birth tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. Bay Kennish grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and a brother. Meanwhile, Daphne Vasquez, who contracted meningitis and became deaf at an early age, grew up with a single mother in a working-class neighborhood. Things come to a dramatic head when the families discover that the girls were switched at birth.

Interview with Lizzy Weiss, the Creator of Switched at Birth

Lizzy WeissSigning Savvy users love Switched at Birth and have submitted several questions to ask Lizzy Weiss, the creator of Switched at Birth. A big thank you to Lizzy for answering the fan questions and thank you to everyone that submitted questions - Jackie B., Courtney B., Denise B., Katie C., Tracy Anne H., Ray K., Chloe L., Sarah P., Julie S., and Lili Lan V.

What was your motivation for creating the show?

I’m a writer so I’m always looking for great stories and when I heard about two middle-aged women who discovered that they had been switched at birth, I knew that making them teenagers would make a really interesting examination of nature vs. nurture. The decision to make one of the girls deaf came later, so it wasn’t the primary inspiration for the show; it was more of an extra complication to the main hook.

Did you have ties to the Deaf community prior to creating the show?

I took a class in college called Theater of the Deaf in which we had to perform monologues, songs, and poems in sign language. When I decided to make one of the girls different in some way to create more conflict with her birth family, I instantly knew that I wanted her to be deaf. (Take unusual classes in college even if they don’t fulfill requirements! They’ll pay off in ways you can’t anticipate later!)

What sort of background research did you do in creating the show?

I saw documentaries on deaf history and the cochlear implant debate; I read memoirs and lurked on deaf blogs and forums; and most importantly, I visited Marlton School for the Deaf in Los Angeles and interviewed multiple classes of students about their lives.

How was Katie Leclerc selected for the role of Daphne? How did she feel about acting with a deaf accent and is it difficult for her?

We had an open call for the part of Daphne so that we could be more inclusive and provide an opportunity to someone who wasn’t in the system (i.e. not just people with agents). People drove for hours to audition and spoke to me about the script and how much it meant to them to have a deaf protagonist; it was very moving. Katie nailed the audition in every way: in her acting, being fluent in ASL, plus the extra little magic of having the same coloring as Lea Thompson, who we knew we wanted to cast as the part of her biological mother.

But Katie is hard of hearing (from Meniere’s Disease) and I knew that I wanted Daphne to be more deaf than Katie in order to provide more anxiety and conflict with her bio family. We asked her if she would be comfortable coming back and auditioning again with a deaf accent and she said she felt very comfortable since she has been around deaf people her whole life. She worked with her sister (who is deaf) to map out which syllables would be difficult for her; I think by now, 93 episodes in, it’s pretty much second nature.

In the show, Regina stopped signing to Daphne because of an injury. Was there a behind-the-scenes reason she stopped?

Sadly, there was. It was a true heartbreak for all of us that Constance had to stop signing. All of the other actors got to learn gradually because their characters learned slowly over time. But Regina was supposed to be fluent when we met her, so she had to do a crash course in ASL. Everyone’s hands are different and for some reason, the repetitive motion of so much practicing gave her carpal tunnel syndrome (especially after an eight-hour day of shooting a key scene in episode 8, ‘Pandora’s Box,’ in Season 1 in which Regina reveals a huge secret). In any case, her doctors required her to stop signing altogether. Luckily, at the same time, so many of the other characters started signing that it didn’t affect the texture of the show, and the amount of ASL that I wanted.

How long did it take the hearing actors to learn sign language?

We have an ASL master (Jack Jason, who is also Marlee Matlin’s long-time interpreter) who teaches all of the actors their signs for their lines weekly. He is available for tutoring; he makes videos for them; and he is on set for every sign language scene to correct or guide them. Sometimes I consult with him as well when new characters are learning ASL and we talk about what level we want them to be at, or what sign to use in a certain scene, or when they should fingerspell, things like that.

Does anyone use Signing Savvy associated with the show?

I don’t think so but I tell everyone about it! I love the sign of the day. Every morning, my kids (ages 5 and 7) and I check it at breakfast and we learn it together! And I teach my daughter’s kindergarten class a new song every week. This week we are going to do animals and if a kid asks me an animal I don’t know, I’ll just look it up in the dictionary!

What's your favorite sign?

Penguin! Pirate. Love. Octopus. Submarine. Turtle. Rainbow. Friend. Always and forever. So many!

Switched at Birth is actually what inspired me to learn ASL! Is there an interpreter on set at all times for crew members who may not know ASL but need to interact with the Deaf actors? 

Every deaf actor has their own interpreter at all times on set, so when the director needs to block a scene or the assistant director needs them in make-up or I need to give a note, we use the interpreters. I’m trying to use my sign language these days but sometimes we have to be fast so I use a mixture of my signs and the interpreter.

Has the show gotten a lot of positive feedback about its use with Deaf actors and ASL?

Yes! It has been delightful hearing how many people say they were inspired to learn sign language - or even become interpreters - from the show. I love when people tweet that they felt more comfortable talking to a deaf patient or a deaf customer because of the show, that is fantastic.

I want Switched at Birth to last forever! Do you think you will continue to work with Deaf story lines after Switched at Birth concludes?

Absolutely. Sign language is totally part of my life now, both professionally and personally. I’m pushing my family to learn it so we can have a secret (kind of) language!

How to Watch

New episodes of Switched at Birth are on Mondays at 8/7 central on ABC Family. Find out more about Switched at Birth or watch episodes online at ABC Family. Older episodes are also available on Netflix.

Again, a big thank you to Lizzy for answering the questions from Signing Savvy fans!


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