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 - ADOPTION
(as in to adopt children)

Blog Articles by: Jillian Winn

Signing Savvy Member App Updated to Version 2.5

Signing Savvy Member App Updated to Version 2.5

Site News   |  Friday, November 2, 2018

By Jillian Winn

We just updated both the iOS and Android versions of the Signing Savvy Member App to version 2.5. The update primarily increases the app's performance, resolves some bugs, and adds support to the latest iOS and Android operating systems and devices. The update is recommended for all Signing Savvy members using the mobile app running iOS 9 or newer or Android v4.4 (KitKat) or newer.

If you have not used the Signing Savvy Member App, it is a great way to access Signing Savvy on your mobile devices in a highly streamlined fashion. It is a premium feature available only to Signing Savvy full members.

 

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International Week of the Deaf, Deaf Awareness Week, and International Day of Sign Languages 2018

Deaf Culture   |  Sunday, September 23, 2018

By Jillian Winn

On September 23, 2018, International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) will kick off International Week of the Deaf (abbreviated as IWDeaf; used to be IWD), which is September 24-30, 2018 this year. You may also hear this week called Deaf Awareness Week, but the official name is International Week of the Deaf.

This year is the first International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL). It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and will be celebrated annually on September 23.

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) started International Week of the Deaf in 1958 and it is celebrated annually by national and regional associations of the deaf, local communities, and individuals worldwide.

The purpose of International Week of the Deaf is to increase public awareness of deaf issues, people, and culture. Activities and events throughout IWDeaf encourage individuals to come together as a community for both educational events and celebrations. Find more information on Deaf Awareness Week.

International Week of the Deaf 2018 Poster

Since 2009, the World Federation of the Deaf has created themes for International Week of the Deaf. The theme for 2018 is “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!” Find out more about the 2018 International Week of the Deaf and download their campaign materials on the World Federation of the Deaf website.

You can also spread the message using the hashtags: #IWDeaf2018 #IDSL2018 #SignLanguagesDay

 

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Savvy Tutoring and Savvy Chats: So Much to Sign About, So Much to Learn

Site News   |  Friday, June 29, 2018

By Jillian Winn

We first started our Savvy Chat service over a year ago and have since added Savvy Tutoring. These ASL sessions let you meet online, one-on-one with one of our signing experts, Marta Belsky, through video chat. In that time, Marta has had the pleasure of meeting with people from around the country to chat and practice ASL skills, as well as for tutoring on vocabulary development, receptive and expressive fingerspelling skills, and more. 


one-on-one

30 minutes

online

Each session is unique to meet the needs of the person who scheduled the chat. Future chats with the same person are often very different depending on the person’s changing goals and objectives. 

Marta
ASL One-on-One Session with Marta

Marta is a third generation ASL user and has been teaching ASL for 30 years. She has Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Gallaudet University and a Masters in Deaf Education from Western Maryland College. She has taught ASL at Michigan State University, Madonna University, and in Lansing Community College's Interpreter Training Program. She enjoys sharing her native language with new users. It is important to her that people learn the language the "right" way and learn about Deaf Culture at the same time. Marta has worked with people who have never signed before as well as experienced signers. When you meet with Marta, she assesses your current ASL fluency and then tailors the conversation or lesson in a way that will fit with your current ASL knowledge and also your goals for the session.

Savvy Tutoring

Some people have scheduled Savvy Tutoring with Marta to focus on a specific skill, like preparing for an upcoming test, practicing mouth morphemes and classifiers, and working on using ASL grammar instead of English sentence structure. Others who have had previous ASL knowledge wanted to work with Marta to assess their current fluency and receive suggestions for areas to work on for further improvement. Occasionally people have had a very specific topic they wanted to learn more about, like Deaf culture or a specific message they wanted to learn to sign to someone they care for.

Savvy Chat

Some people have lacked local resources where they can meet and sign with others, so they use Savvy Chat to practice conversational ASL.

Sometimes a single ASL One-on-One Session has turned into reoccurring sessions where either they simply practice signing through conversation or goals are formed to help the person build specific ASL skills. Regardless of previous ASL skill level, Marta works with you to meet your ever-changing goals. 

Here is some feedback from people who have had ASL One-on-One Sessions with Marta: 

"Marta was so friendly and easy to talk with! She helped me so much, and was very patient when I had trouble with receptive finger spelling! I was so happy to be able to practice with her and look forward to doing it again!”

“Marta was very helpful with giving me feedback and correction, as needed. I really enjoyed both sessions with her, last week and today, and after working with her felt more confident with my signing.”

“I feel like I'm really making some progress. Marta is amazing. She keeps the conversation rolling. We have a lot of similar likes and dislikes. Looking forward to another session!”

“Thank you Marta! I feel like I'm gaining confidence and really enjoy our sessions. So much to sign about! Thank you for your patience. You're truly a gifted teacher.”

“So grateful for the time to chat with Marta! I felt so comfortable from the very start!”

“Marta was fun to chat with. She was very helpful and kind. I learned a lot in my short 30 minutes. The time flew by!”

“Thank you for your help, Marta! I enjoyed speaking with you! Thanks for being patient with me and helping me with fingerspelling. You taught me some fun things. Now I know how to sign "cruise"! I'm looking forward to chatting again sometime.”

If you want to practice your signing or want help to learn and study ASL, check out our ASL One-on-One Sessions, including Savvy Tutoring and Savvy Chat.

 

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5 Cool New Features in the Updated Signing Savvy Member App

5 Cool New Features in the Updated Signing Savvy Member App

Site News   |  Saturday, November 18, 2017

By Jillian Winn

We did a complete rewrite to our Signing Savvy Member App this Fall for both Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. Since then, we have continued to release updates to the app to add more features and make tweaks based on feedback from our savvy members. The current version of the app, as of the date of this article, is version 2.4. The new app is 64-bit compatible (required for iOS 11), now supports the iPhone X display, and includes several new features. Whether you have used the mobile app for years or haven’t tried it out yet, we wanted to make sure you knew about some of the cool new things you can do with the new and improved Signing Savvy Member App.

1. Higher quality video and support for both portrait and landscape display.

All of our videos have been updated for the new app, so the videos are higher quality with crisper images. In the past, the app only worked with portrait display, but with the new app, you can turn your mobile device horizontally and the app will switch to landscape mode, which allows you to view sign videos even larger. This is a great new feature for those that want a closer view of what is being signed.

Example of Landscape View in App
Simply rotate your device to view the app in landscape mode.

2. New Improved Sign of the Day!

Do you love to see our sign of the day everyday? Our sign of the day has evolved in the past few years. Originally, we picked a random sign for the day. Now each sign of the day is thoughtfully selected to be related to something happening on that day, such as a holiday, or a deaf culture tidbit.

If you check the sign of the day on the Signing Savvy website, there is an additional description that gives some context to the sign of the day. For example (warning upcoming SOTD spoilers!)… the sign on November 21st, 2017 will be GAME because it will be “National Game & Puzzle Week”… the sign on November 29th, 2017 will be ROLE because “Linda Bove was born in November. She is a deaf actress and played the ROLE of Linda the librarian on Sesame Street for 31 years.”

Although we have had these added descriptions that explain why the sign of the day was selected on our website for some time, they were not in the app, but now they are!

Sign Notice for Sign of the Day
The sign notice explains why the sign is the Sign of the Day.

3. Signed Sentences of the Day!

If you don’t already follow us on our Signing Savvy Twitter Feed or "like" our Signing Savvy Facebook Page, you might not have noticed we have signed sentences of the day that go with our sign of the day on the Signing Savvy website. The signed sentences help people see more signed examples and see signs used in context. Now signed sentences of the day are also available in the Signing Savvy Member App!

The sentences can be found in the app by clicking on the “Examples” tab under the sign video. Here is an example of a signed sentence. 

Sentence of the Day in the app
See signed example sentences by clicking on the Examples tab.

4. Images

For the last few years, we have been adding images to signs on the Signing Savvy website, but these images were not shown in the old Signing Savvy Member App. The updated mobile app now includes these images - just click on the image tab to see related images that help you understand the meaning of the sign, particularly for young learners. Images have also been integrated into the word lists and digital flash cards in the app.

Example Images in App
Click on the Images tab to see example images of the sign meaning.

5. Audio to go with signs.

You have probably noticed that our signed videos do not include audio. Signing does include inflections and mouth morphemes, but it’s not natural to be speaking as you are signing. However, we’ve gotten feedback specifically from some teachers that being able to see the sign video, the written word, an image of the word, and have the ability to hear the word would be helpful for hearing students. We have now added this optional feature into the member app.

Example Audio in App
Click on the Sound Icon in the app to hear audio of what is being signed.

And there is more...

We have also added many improvements to the user interface, word lists and digital flash cards in the app, but we’re already covered FIVE cool new features in the updated Signing Savvy Member App, so stay tuned for a future article that goes into more detail on the new features of word lists and digital flash cards in the app.

If you are a Signing Savvy member and have an Apple iOS or Android mobile device, make sure to download the latest version of the Signing Savvy Member App today! If you are not yet a member, the Signing Savvy Member App is an excellent reason to become a member so you can access the Signing Savvy learning resources in a streamlined fashion when you are on-the-go.

 

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Deaf American Jazz Singer and Songwriter Chooses to “Try” After Hearing Loss

Deaf Culture   |  Saturday, June 10, 2017

By Jillian Winn

Mandy Harvey starting singing when she was four. She sang in choral groups and music competitions in high school and she was recognized as the "Top Female Vocalist" at Longmont High School when she graduated in 2006. Mandy was then one of only fifteen students accepted as a vocal major into Colorado State University. However, Mandy suffered from reoccurring hearing problems and during her freshman year in college she lost hearing (110 decibels) in both ears. Doctors believe her hearing loss was caused by a genetic connective tissue disorder exacerbated by medications used during knee surgeries.

After her hearing loss, Mandy was discouraged and left Colorado State University to take a break from singing and return home to Longmont, Colorado. She started taking classes at the local community college in American Sign Language and Elementary Education. Although she stopped singing, she continued to play the guitar with her father. Encouraged by her father, she began to work on learning the lyrics to "Come Home" by OneRepublic. She discovered she was able to read the music and sing in key, which motivated her to not give up on signing.

A visit with one of her former college music professors in 2008 also helped revive her music passion and got her connected to the jazz scene at Jay’s Bistro in Fort Collins and she began performing there regularly for several years. She then began having regular concerts at the Dazzle Jazz Lounge in Denver (one of the top 100 Jazz venues in the world). In 2011, Mandy won the VSA’s International Young Soloist Award and has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. several times.

Mandy is an ambassador with the non-profit No Barriers, an organization that helps individuals with disabilities and wounded veterans overcome the obstacles they face in their day to day lives. She wrote the song Try because "After I lost my hearing, I gave up. But I want to do more with my life than just give up.” Watch this video of Mandy auditioning for the T.V. show America’s Got Talent and singing her song Try.

Video Transcript

Note: Captions are available on the video (click the CC button), but they aren’t entirely accurate. For example, they say "death" instead of "deaf" and "beach" instead of "beat." We are unable to change the captions since the video was published by American’s Got Talent, but we have contacted them with this feedback and included a transcript of the video below.

COWELL: Hello.

HARVEY: Hi! How are you?

COWELL: And what’s your name?

HARVEY: Mandy Harvey

COWELL: And who’s this?

HARVEY: My Interpreter

COWELL: What’s your name?

SARAH: Sarah

COWELL: Nice to meet you Sarah.

SARAH: Nice to meet you sir, doing well thank you.

KLUM: Hi Sarah.

SARAH: Hello.

COWELL: Ok Mandy, so I think I’ve worked this out. So you’re deaf?

HARVEY: Yes, I lost all my hearing when I was 18 years old.

COWELL: Wow, and how old are you now?

HARVEY: 29, so it’s 10 years.

COWELL: Wow

COWELL: And Mandy, how did you lose your hearing, if you don’t mind me asking?

HARVEY: I have a connective tissue disorder, so basically I got sick and my nerves deteriorated.

COWELL: So you were signing before you lost your hearing?

HARVEY: Yeah, I’ve been singing since I was 4. So I left music after I lost my hearing and then figured out how to get back into singing with muscle memory, using visual tuners, and trusting my pitch.

MANDEL: So your shoes are off because you are feeling the vibration. Is that how you’re following the music?

HARVEY: Yeah, I’m feeling the tempo, the beat, through the floor.

COWELL: And Mandy, what are you going to sing?

HARVEY: I’m going to sing a song I wrote called Try.

COWELL: Okay, can you tell me what it’s about?

HARVEY: After I lost my hearing, I gave up. But I want to do more with my life than just give up.

COWELL: Good for you.

HARVEY: Thank you.

COWELL: Good for you. Well look, this is your moment, and good luck.

HARVEY: Ok

[Clapping]

[Music]

Mandy Harvey singing:

I don’t feel the way I used to
The sky is grey much more than it is blue
But I know one day I'll get through
And I'll take my place again

If I would try, if I would try

There is no one for me to blame
cause I know the only thing in my way
Is Me

I don't live the way I want to
That whole picture never came into view
But I'm tired of getting used to
The day

So I will try, so I will try,

If I would try, if I would try

[Clapping]

COWELL: Mandy, I don’t think you’re going to need a translator for this…

[Cheering, Clapping]

BROWN: Wow

COWELL: Hey, you sing incredible. I mean, I’ve done this a long time, that was one of the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen and heard.

HARVEY: Thank you so much.

COWELL: That was amazing. Amazing.

MR. HARVEY: Thank you.

COWELL: Congratulations.

COWELL: Honestly, I never think I’m going to be surprised or amazed by people, and then you turn up. I mean, just the fact that you are you, but it was your voice, your tone. The song was beautiful. Congratulations you are straight through to the live show.

COWELL: Mandy, you know what, we found each other.

HARVEY: Yes.

[Music]

[Applause]

Bravo Mandy! We’re glad you decided to "Try," so we could see your love and passion for music!

Resources

  1. America’s Got Talent. (2017, June 6). Mandy Harvey: Deaf Singer Earns Simon's Golden Buzzer With Original Song - America's Got Talent 2017. Retrieved 6/9/2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKSWXzAnVe0
  2. Mandy Harvey. (n.d.) Wikipedia. Retrieved 6/9/2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandy_Harvey
  3. No Barriers. (n.d.). Mandy Harvey. Retrieved 6/9/2017 from http://www.nobarriersusa.org/people/mandy-harvey/

 

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