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 - TROUBLE

Blog Articles by: Jillian Winn

The Hammer movie delivers inspirational true story

General Interest   |  Monday, February 20, 2012

By Jillian Winn

The Hammer, a movie based on the life of the first deaf NCAA Wrestling Champion and UFC Fighter Matt "The Hammer" Hamill, was released on DVD a few weeks ago. The DVD cover says, "the inspirational true story," and it was just that… whether or not you are interested in wrestling, sign language, or deaf culture, the movie is an inspirational story about overcoming challenges and working hard to make your dreams a reality. And if you are interested in sign language (of course you are, if you are on Signing Savvy!), you should check out this movie.

Watch the trailer:

Different, not Disabled.

The film takes us on Matt's journey from childhood to an adult, starting with a scene where his grandfather is in the room with an audiologist while Matt, as a toddler, is having his hearing tested. The grandfather says to the audiologist, "After a couple of flashing lights and a teddy bear, you're going to tell me my grandson is deaf and dumb?" The audiologist responds, "No… I'm going to tell you, you have a highly intelligent grandson who is profoundly deaf."

Young Matt Hamill in The Hammer movieThis heart-wrenching opening scene represents an all too common misconception of those who are deaf or hard of hearing (HOH). There is nothing "dumb" about deaf or HOH individuals and please be careful with using the terminology "handicapped" as well. Deaf or HOH individuals are just as capable, able, and intelligent as hearing individuals. The Hammer movie does a great job of showing this distinction of different, not disabled.

When you know better, you do better.

Matt's grandfather was a strong influence in his life and although throughout the film he delivers "tough love" to try to make him stronger, it's not because he views Matt as weak, it's because he sees how strong he is. A scene close to the end of the movie shows a softer side of his grandfather and the love he has for Matt (but we won't spoil it for you!). The film can help introduce those unfamiliar with deaf and HOH individuals with deaf culture.

A glimpse into deaf culture.

There are a lot of takeaways in the film for those not familiar with deaf culture. The film's production team made some great decisions which added to the authenticity and overall storytelling within the film:

Matt Hamill in The Hammer movie

  • They casted all deaf roles in the film with deaf actors.
  • There is a sparse soundtrack and the audio is softened and muffled in certain parts to try to give hearing viewers a small glimpse into what it would be like to be deaf.
  • Sign language is used in the film with captioning so non-signers can understand (it is the first non-foreign language film to incorporate open captioning). For those that don't understand sign language, it adds to the storytelling aspect of the film. For those who are deaf, HOH, or learning sign language, you can turn off the captioning.
  • The director also noted that, "I used many wide angles to help mirror an enhanced peripheral view, which is common among deaf people who communicate 100% through visuals."

The verdict: Two open-palm, shaking hands (sign for clapping/cheering)

The Hammer is an inspirational story of determination and a sensory view into deaf culture for the hearing. If you are learning sign language, you should check out this movie.

But don't just take our word for it... The Hammer was a winner at several film festivals, including the Newport Beach Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, Miami Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, Philly Cinefest Film Festival, Maui Film Festival, and Heartland Film Festival.

Finding the Film

Please note this film is rated PG-13 and not for young children.

The Hammer can be found at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Blockbuster, iTunes, Netflix, and many cable and satellite PayPerView providers.

You can also find it on the website for The Hammer movie.

Thoughts? Discussion?

The Hammer brings up many interesting topics for discussion. If you watched the movie, tell us what you thought:

  • Did you like the movie?
  • What did it leave you thinking about?
  • If you could ask Matt "The Hammer" Hamill or the Producers/Director of the movie a question, what would you ask them?

We would love to hear your thoughts! Leave your comment below or on the Signing Savvy Facebook Page.


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Quizzing Enhanced with Fill-in-the-Blank Option

Site News   |  Monday, February 6, 2012

By Jillian Winn

We have enhanced the Signing Savvy quizzing feature to add a "fill-in-the-blank" question type in addition to the two multiple choice question types ("match meaning to sign" and "match sign to meaning"). The new "fill-in-the-blank" question type is a particularly good way to test your fingerspelling recognition skills (as discussed in the previous blog post, FINGERSPELLING……that dirty BIG four-teen letter word!).

Quizzing yourself on word lists is a full member feature. All users can sample the quizzing option on the Colors word list.


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Link to Us

Site News   |  Sunday, September 25, 2011

By Jillian Winn

Want to link to Signing Savvy? If you think Signing Savvy is a great resource and want to recommend it to others, we would love for you to add a link to us on your website or blog!

We've created the link to us page to help make it easy for you to add a link on your website to Signing Savvy by just copying and pasting the desired code into your site. We have provided our official description, buttons for general links, plus links to our blog, the sign of the day, and specific signs. Also feel free to use any of these link images in PowerPoint or Keynote presentations or wherever you would like to link to Signing Savvy.


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A look at signing family members: The sign of the day theme from the last week

Learning Tips   |  Wednesday, September 21, 2011

By Jillian Winn

You may have noticed a theme across the signs of the day in the last week. We asked our Twitter followers for suggestions for the sign of the day and someone suggested we try week-long themes. Although we will not be using a theme every week for the sign of the day, we thought it was a great idea to start incorporating a theme occasionally.

We choose family members for our first sign of the day theme, from Wednesday, September 14 to Wednesday, September 21. Signing Savvy Member Tip: To see past sign of the days, view the sign of the day wordlist.

If you follow the sign of the day, we thought it would be a great learning opportunity to point out a few takeaways about the signs from the last week.

Sunday's sign of the day was MOM. For this sign, the thumb of the 5-hand taps the chin. Signing Savvy Member Tip: Take a look at the memory aid for signs to have a better understanding of the origin of signs and a way to remember them. Our memory aid for MOM explains that the lower portion of the face refers to the female gender and that's one way you can remember the sign for MOM is signed on/near your chin. If you look at the sign for FEMALE, you will see you stroke the side of your chin with the thumb of the A-hand.

DAD, which was the sign of the day on Monday, has some similar signing patterns as MOM. DAD is signed on/near the forehead and male signs are typically made on the forehead. See the sign for MALE and DAD.

GRANDMA (the first Wednesday's sign of the day) and GRANDPA are signed similarly to MOM and DAD, but with an additional movement out suggesting a generation out.

The signs for UNCLE (Thursday's sign of the day) and AUNT also follow these same gender patterns with UNCLE signed with the U-hand in a circular motion near the forehead and AUNT signed with the A-hand in a circular motion near the chin. You can easily remember the hand shape that each of these signs use because UNCLE starts with the letter "U" and uses the U-hand and AUNT starts with the letter "A" and uses the A-hand.

Now that you are starting to notice the patterns of signs, you should be able to guess the sign for NIECE (the second Wednesday's sign of the day) and NEPHEW. Both start with the letter "N" and use the N-hand in a circular motion. NIECE is signed near the chin, while NEPHEW is signed near the forehead.

COUSIN (Saturday's sign of the day) is signed using the C-hand in a circular motion close to the head -- that sign could be used for a female or a male cousin. There is also a second way to sign COUSIN where you shake your C-hand by the head instead of using a circular motion. If you wanted to specifically sign FEMALE COUSIN, do the sign by your chin, and if you want to sign MALE COUSIN, do the sign by your forehead.

The signs for SON (Tuesday's sign of the day) and DAUGHTER (Friday's sign of the day) do not follow the exact same sign pattern as the last few signs discussed. SON and DAUGHTER start like the signs for MALE and FEMALE and then transition into the sign for BABY. You can remember these signs because (regardless of age) a SON is one's MALE BABY and a DAUGHTER is someone's FEMALE BABY.

Our featured sign of the day theme of family members did not include any signs for in-laws, but there is also a pattern to be found when signing in-laws. Often it is the sign of the family member, plus the sign for LAW. See MOTHER-IN-LAW as an example.

We hope you enjoyed our first week of using a theme for the sign of the day! We will also be using a theme for the next week. We had a Twitter follower suggest the theme of emotions. Thursday, September 22 - Thursday, September 29 will be emotions - we hope that makes you "happy"!!


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Update to Android Mobile App

Site News   |  Monday, September 12, 2011

By Jillian Winn

We just updated the Signing Savvy Member App on Android to version 1.2. The new app resolves an issue that was making it difficult for some users to login to the app. The issue was that Android was auto-correcting what you typed as a password (thinking it was just regular text). The updated app no longer auto-corrects (changes what you type) on the password field. We also made a few additional bug fixes in the app. If you are using the Android app, we recommend you download the update.

NOTE: The Signing Savvy Member App for Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) did not have the password auto-correct issue and remains unchanged at version 1.2.


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