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

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Blog Articles in Category: Site News

Practice American Sign Language (ASL) With an ASL Expert Through Video Chat

Practice American Sign Language (ASL) With an ASL Expert Through Video Chat

Site News   |  Monday, September 19, 2016

By Jillian Winn

We’re excited to announce that we are launching a new service where you can practice American Sign Language (ASL) with an ASL expert through video chat. We are calling this new service Savvy Chat. All chats are one-on-one 30 minute sessions using video conferencing software online. You can practice your receptive and expressive ASL skills and/or get help with a specific aspect of ASL. 
To use Savvy Chat, you will need a webcam, high speed internet, and a device that will allow you to download and install the Zoom video conferencing software (you can use a Windows or Mac OS X computer, iPhone, or Android device). 
We are starting with a limited number of spots for roll out of Savvy Chat to see if there is interest in this service.

Schedule a time for a Savvy Chat before they all fill up!

If a lot of people are interested in Savvy Chat, we will add more availability in the future.

 

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A Big Thank You to the  Growing Signing Savvy Advisory Board!

A Big Thank You to the Growing Signing Savvy Advisory Board!

Site News   |  Tuesday, May 31, 2016

By Jillian Winn

We have added several new members to our advisory board and wanted to take this opportunity to recognize AND THANK all of our board members for their help and expertise.  We’ve made many updates to Signing Savvy because of suggestions provided by this wonderful advisory board! And we have many more updates in the works.

The Sign Language Advisory Board is made up of thought leaders who have a deep subject matter expertise in sign language and deaf culture and are leaders in their respective fields. Our goal is to have a diverse advisory board with various backgrounds and experience to provide a wide range of advice and expertise.

Meet our current board members:

Donalda Ammons

Donalda Ammons

Donalda Ammons, born to all deaf family and raised in Washington D.C., is Professor Emerita at Gallaudet University.  She has a doctorate in higher education/foreign language education and taught for 31 years at Gallaudet. She continues to contribute as an author of numerous articles on Deaf culture and sports, published in various professional journals and books. Dr. Ammons has traveled to present papers and conduct workshops relating to human rights for deaf people, deaf sports, and political and educational leadership.

Learn more about Donalda...

Suellen Bahleda

Suellen Bahleda

Across 20 years and several states, Suellen Bahleda became certified, interpreted, taught entry-level and advanced ASL and interpreting classes and presented workshops. She is author of several sign language books. Sue holds a B.A. in Theatre and Communication Arts, an M.Ed in Adult Education, and a M.Div (Master of Divinity), and is currently serving as a pastor for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Learn more about Suellen...

Marta Belsky

Marta Belsky

Marta Belsky is a third generation ASL user. She has been teaching ASL for 20 years and enjoys sharing her native language with new users. Marta is on the Lansing Community College Interpreter Training Program Advisory Board and has also been a board member for the Michigan Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the Michigan Chapter of American Sign Language Teachers Association.

Learn more about Marta...

Brenda Cartwright

Brenda Cartwright

Brenda Cartwright is a seasoned interpreter, a master teacher, well known presenter, and author of several best selling sign language and interpreting textbooks from the RID Press. For the last 30 years Brenda has been the Chair of the Sign Language Interpreter Program at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan.

Learn more about Brenda...

Fr. Michael Depcik, OSFS

Fr. Michael Depcik, OSFS

Fr. Michael Depcik, OSFS, a native of Chicago, is currently ministering to deaf Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He is among fewer than a handful of culturally Deaf priests worldwide. In 2008, he established a vlog website called Fr. MD’s Kitchen Table at www.frmd.org. Fr. Depcik enjoys traveling around the country to give retreats.

Learn more about Fr. MD...

Darren Holst

Darren Holst

Darren was born into a deaf family and raised in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. His career includes a wide variety of positions in the field of Education. He has taught primary, junior, middle and high school grades. Currently, he is a pre-school teacher running a Home Visitation Program with the Provincial Schools Branch (identical to Early Intervention programs in the U.S.).

Learn more about Darren...

Diane Morton

Diane Morton

Diane Dyer Morton, hearing of Deaf parents, has been using American Sign Language on a daily basis for over 50 years in various settings within the Deaf community.  She was a School Psychologist and Administrator at the California School for the Deaf, Fremont, and later a full professor in the Counseling Department at Gallaudet University. Certified by RID in 1980, she has also served as an interpreter in local, national and international settings.

Learn more about Diane...

R. Ben Roux

R. Ben Roux

R. Ben Roux has a background in advocacy, Information Technology and software development. He is the Advisory Board Chairman of the City of Boston Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities. Ben is committed to advocacy and service to others, especially the deaf, hard of hearing and people with disabilities. These initiatives are particularly meaningful to Ben as he is profoundly deaf.

Learn more about R. Ben...

Together with these thought leaders we will continue improving Signing Savvy.  Watch for future blog articles from our advisory board members and for upcoming announcements from us on improvements being made to Signing Savvy based on feedback from them. As always, we welcome suggestions and feedback from you, our members and users.
 

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Signing Savvy Featured as 1 of 15 Pure Michigan Businesses

Signing Savvy Featured as 1 of 15 Pure Michigan Businesses

Site News   |  Thursday, May 5, 2016

By Jillian Winn

You may not know this, but Signing Savvy is based in Michigan. That does not mean the signs on Signing Savvy are regional to Michigan or that only people from Michigan work for Signing Savvy, just that the company itself was founded and exists physically in Michigan. Of course, we are an online business so we connect with you wherever you are. So far, over 10 million people have used Signing Savvy - the majority of people who use Signing Savvy are from the U.S. and Canada (where ASL is most used), but people from over 200 countries have used Signing Savvy. It is all of you that keep us passionate and working hard to continue to improve Signing Savvy.

We are excited to announce Signing Savvy was chosen as 1 of 15 businesses in the state of Michigan to be featured in a webisode through the PBS program, START UP. We are proud to share our story with you - watch the Pure Michigan / Michigan Economic Development Corporation video on Signing Savvy:

NOTE: Captions are available for this video, you just have to turn them on if your computer’s settings do not already have them on by default (rollover the video and click on the "CC" in the playback bar).

From the start, our mission has been to provide the most comprehensive online sign language resource for parents, educators, interpreters, students, or anyone interested in American Sign Language (ASL). We say "comprehensive" because Signing Savvy includes ASL signs, regional signs, and English signs - each sign is clearly labeled with what type of sign it is and you can see multiple sign variations for words, when available. We have an Advisory Board made up of experts around the country that give us feedback and advise us. We continue to shoot and reshoot signs and add features to the Signing Savvy website because we are passionate about being a high-quality, comprehensive resource that helps people.

We're excited to be working on some cool new updates and features (including one that was mentioned in the video)... stay tuned for the release in the coming months!

 

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New Program Helps Build ASL-to-English Search Feature While Helping You Learn and Study ASL

New Program Helps Build ASL-to-English Search Feature While Helping You Learn and Study ASL

Site News   |  Wednesday, September 9, 2015

By Jillian Winn

What’s that sign mean?

Have you ever seen a sign and wondered what it was, but wasn’t sure how to look it up? Signing Savvy is a great resource for looking up signs, but you have to type in an English word and then you can see the sign(s) for that word. We don’t currently have the ability to type in a description of a sign and then tell you the English meaning for that sign… but we hope to in the future!

Signing Savvy has partnered with researchers at the University of Washington who are doing a study to build data so an ASL-to-English dictionary feature could be possible. The technology they are testing is called ASL-Flash. When you use ASL-Flash, you see a sign and enter its features. The ASL-Flash website then learns the varied features that somebody might see when viewing a sign, which will help improve the quality of results returned in future searches by other users.

Use ASL-Flash to practice ASL and as a study tool for class

ASL-Flash makes learning and practicing ASL easy. All videos come from Signing Savvy. It shows you sign videos and quizzes you on the meaning. If you are taking an ASL class and using either of the Signing Naturally or Master ASL! textbooks, you can use the site to quiz yourself on the chapter you’re studying. In addition to being quizzed on the meaning of signs, you describe what the sign looked like. Not only is it a helpful study tool, but by describing signs through the ASL-Flash website you also help the research project at the University of Washington to build the data needed to create an ASL-to-English search feature.

It’s an easy and free tool to use. Use ASL-Flash to practice sign language, study signs from your course textbooks, and help us build the ASL-to-English search of the future! Get started now at www.aslflash.org

ASL Flash Explained

 

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Tips for Rhyming in Sign Language

Tips for Rhyming in Sign Language

Site News   |  Tuesday, September 30, 2014

By John Miller

Every year around this time, I get a message or two from teachers and interpreters of deaf children asking how to best convey the concept of rhymes to their students.  Rhyming is a very common curriculum goal in many, if not all early childhood education programs throughout the United States and Canada.

The problem often with rhyming is that many of the words are made-up and, therefore, they have no sign.  We all know that words that have no sign should be fingerspelled if you follow proper ASL rules.  You can fingerspell these nonsense words, but that isn’t always very interesting for the young deaf child to watch and doesn’t accurately convey the concept of rhyming words.

I stumbled upon this great video of Austin W. Andrews, an ASL storyteller also known as Awti, describing how to rhyme in sign language. He uses the classic nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle” as an example and does an excellent job of explaining how to handle rhyming when signing.

Some of Awti's great rhyming pointers include:

  • Rhyming in English focuses on words that sound the same.  ASL doesn’t use sound, so to use the principle of rhyming in ASL, signs should look the same. 
  • Rhyming is also based on repetition - repeating similar sounds in English to create an audible rhythm.  Do the same thing in ASL by repeating similar signs to create a visual rhythm. Use movement, handshape, location, palm orientation, or other components of signs to create repetition and a visual rhythm. 
  • Stay true to the meaning of the rhyme, but don’t get caught up in delivering a direct translation of each word. To sign, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” Awti signs HI (for “Hey”) and then uses swinging arms for DIDDLE that mimic the movement of FIDDLE in the next line of the rhyme. Swimming arms may not be an ASL sign, but “Diddle” has little meaning in English as well and the point of rhyming is to establish a pattern, rhythm, and repetition (whether audible in English or visual in ASL). 

Watch the short video to see Awti’s rhyming example in action. The video has no audio, but is captioned. If you are a fluent signer, you will not have a problem understanding the signing in the video, and that is actually the best way to watch it.  If you aren’t a fluent signer yet (notice I said YET), then I suggest you watch the video a few times, first reading the captions so that you get the gist of the video and then go back and watch it again, focusing on the sign.

To turn the captions on, click the "CC" button at the bottom of the video.

Resources:

 

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