Blog Articles by JOHN MILLER

The mysterious confusion between deafness and blindness

The mysterious confusion between deafness and blindness

By John Miller  |  Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Oh, so you work with deaf people...so does that mean you know Braille?" I am sure many of you who have told people you are interested in sign language have heard a question similar to the one above. Although Braille is used by the blind, people often confuse it as a tool for the deaf. As a former teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children, I have witnessed confusion between deafness and blindess several times in my career. ...
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 ...
Setting Up People, Places and Things

Setting Up People, Places and Things

By John Miller  |  Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The use of space is a very important feature in American Sign Language. The way to be able to refer back to different people, places or things (referents) is to use the space around the signer. You do this by setting up the space. This is done in a three dimensional manner. It can be done in the space to the left or right of the signer, in front of the signer, in a semi-circle around ...
Making signs plural or in the past tense

Making signs plural or in the past tense

By John Miller  |  Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We have received several emails asking how to make signed words plural or showing if something happened in the past, as well as having emphasis to show desire. There are a few different ways to do this: One way to show an emphasis or plurals is to repeat the sign. For example, if you are wanting to say “He wants that really bad!” You would sign WANT+WANT+THAT+HE. That double use of the sign want shows that he really wants ...
Fourth of July Signing Celebration!

Fourth of July Signing Celebration!

By John Miller  |  Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Signing Savvy wants to help celebrate Independence Day by offering a 7/4 celebration. You get a SEVEN-day trial membership FOR-FREE!Check out the membership features like LARGE video, ability to build your own word lists (and view other members' shared word lists), quiz yourselves, as well as the one of a kind print feature! To access your trial, login to your account (or create a registered guest account if you do not have one) and go to the trial offer page. Happy ...
Social Networking with Signing Savvy

Social Networking with Signing Savvy

By John Miller  |  Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We recently added several links to social networking sites to both help the world learn more about Signing Savvy AND to help build a community around the users of Signing Savvy site. Currently, you can access us on: We are using YouTube to get out video tutorials on the features of the site. If you have not watched them, I highly recommend you check them out to make sure you are taking full advantage of the features the site offers. We ...
How do I get my signs to flow together so that I don't look choppy when I am signing?

How do I get my signs to flow together so that I don't look choppy when I am signing?

By John Miller  |  Friday, April 30, 2010

As a beginning signer, it is just natural that you will be choppy. Once you get a larger sign vocabulary, you will not be so worried about searching for a way to say something that you know the signs for and you will be able to focus on the flow of your signs. When you sign music it also helps with the flow if you let the music guide you. There are a few different sites on the internet ...