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 - PILOT

Blog Articles in Category: Learning Tips

Holiday Sign Extravaganza

Learning Tips   |  Monday, December 9, 2013

By Jillian Winn


Tis the season to be jolly!  Below are several holiday-oriented signs and word lists to help celebrate (or at least communicate about) the holidays in sign.
 

Holiday Signs

 
We WISH you many BLESSINGS this HOLIDAY SEASON, including HEALTH, HAPPINESS, time spent with FAMILY and FRIENDS, and PEACE, LOVE, and JOY.
 
 

Santa Claus Signs

 
Have you been NAUGHTY or NICE this year? Make sure to hang your STOCKINGS and put out MILK and COOKIES for SANTA CLAUS
 
 

Christmas Signs

 
CHRISTMAS is the celebration of the BIRTH of JESUS and the close of ADVENT. ANGELS proclaim him a savior and SHEPHERDS came to adore him. WISE MEN followed a STAR to BETHLEHEM to bring Jesus GIFTS.
 
 

Chanukah / Hanukkah Signs

 
The EIGHT DAY festival of CHANUKAH, also know as the FESTIVAL of LIGHTS, COMMEMORATES the MIRACLE of OIL by lighting CANDLES.
 
 

Kwanzaa Signs

 
 
 

Make Your Own Holiday Word List

 
With Signing Savvy membership you can create your own custom word lists (and practice them with flash cards and quizzes), so if we don’t have a pre-built word list exactly how you want it, you can build your own.

 

 

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10 signs to know for Thanksgiving

Learning Tips   |  Sunday, November 24, 2013

By Jillian Winn

 

#1 Thanks / Thank You

This is what Thanksgiving is all about – giving THANKS for all of your blessings. Don’t forget to say THANK YOU when the gravy is passed! You can also see this sign in the WonderGrove Kids Use Polite Words animated lesson.

 

#2 Turkey

TURKEY is the most common main dish of Thanksgiving dinner and sometimes Thanksgiving is called “TURKEY Day.”

 

#3 Ship

In 1620, the Pilgrim SHIP called the Mayflower made the historic voyage from England to the New World. The Mayflower brought about 150 people to North America – 102 passengers from Holland and London plus the SHIP’s officers and crew.

 

#4 Pilgrim

The first Thanksgiving was a feast in 1621 at Plymouth Colony between the PILGRAMS and the Wampanoag, a Native American tribe.  The PILGRAMS left England seeking religious freedom and were early settlers of the North American colony called Plymouth Colony (present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts).

 

#5 Pumpkin

In addition to turkey, the first Thanksgiving feast included waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, squash, and PUMPKIN.  Many of these foods, with the exception of the seafood, have become a part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Many people include PUMPKIN in their Thanksgiving meal by making PUMPKIN pie.

 

#6 Nuts / Pecan

Although not one of the foods included in the first Thanksgiving feast, NUTS have become a popular snack during Thanksgiving time and PECAN pie is a favorite Thanksgiving dessert for many.   The sign for NUT can be used for all types of NUTS. To be even more specific, use the sign for NUT and then fingerspell the name of the NUT you are talking about.

 

#7 Pie

Rather your favorite is apple, pecan, pumpkin, or sweet potato, make sure you know how to ask for more PIE!

 

#8 Hungry / Appetite

Talking about all this food is making me HUNGRY! The same sign can be used for HUNGRY and APPETITE. Bring your APPETITE to Thanksgiving dinner and surely you will not leave HUNGRY. You can also see this sign in the WonderGrove Kids Use Polite Words animation.

 

#9 Family

Thanksgiving is extra special when spent with FAMILY and friends. Our FAMILY and friends are an important part of what we are thankful for.

 

#10 Appreciate / Appreciation / Appreciating / Please

Giving thanks is all about APPRECIATING what we have, including the people in our lives that make it special. Make sure to show your APPRECIATION for others and you can also use this sign to say PLEASE. You can also see this sign in the WonderGrove Kids Use Polite Words animated lesson.

It’s hard to pick only ten signs to know for Thanksgiving! There are so many things that people do during Thanksgiving, including EAT, VISIT family, watch FOOTBALL, watch the Thanksgiving Day PARADE, SLEEP, SHOP, and more.  Full Members of Signing Savvy can see our Thanksgiving Word List to learn more signs, practice the signs using the flash cards and quizzing features with the pre-built word list, or create your own word list of Thanksgiving signs.

 

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Say Thank You and Use Polite Words

Learning Tips   |  Thursday, November 21, 2013

By Jillian Winn

As you are giving thanks this Thanksgiving, remember to show your love and appreciation for the special people in your life and be kind and polite to all. Learn about using polite words in this WonderGrove Kids animation featuring sign language from Signing Savvy.

Developed by Educators, the Use Polite Words animation has accompanying lesson plans and extension lessons that align to the Common Core Standards for Pre-K through Second Grade.

Plus, there are over 100 more animations at WonderGrove Kids. The animations are a fun way to learn and practice sign language vocabulary, while specifically designed to fit well with an Early Childhood Curriculum - they are perfect for daily use in the home or classroom. Find out more about the animations and the WonderGrove Kids program.

Full Members of Signing Savvy can see all the signs in this animation in our WonderGrove Kids Animation: Use Polite Words word list.  Practice the signs in the animation by using the flash card and quizzing features for the word list on the Signing Savvy website.

 

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The Importance of Coupling Writing with Signing

Learning Tips   |  Monday, July 15, 2013

By John Miller

I know, you never thought you would hear me ("The Man in the Blue Shirt") say that deaf children are signing too much, right?  Well I say it only in perspective of comparing their signing skills to their writing skills.

I think there are often times in the field of Deaf Education that the parents, teachers and interpreters that are working with the deaf and hard of hearing population are just so excited that the children are beginning to express themselves through sign, that they don’t want to “slow them down” by making them think about putting these concepts they are signing into a written form.  It doesn’t help that sign language itself is language that is presented “in the air” and that American Sign Language does not have a written word for word counterpart that goes along nicely with English.  This is all the more reason for people working with our deaf and hard of hearing population to take the time to directly teach these skills to our students.

The written language is the way they will present themselves to the public through resumes, cover letters, notes and even social media.  Like it or not, the skills that you show through your written exchanges with people help them to determine your grasp of the English language and to many, rightfully or not, your intelligence.  Anyone who works with the deaf population knows that the link between intelligence and writing ability doesn't always go hand-in-hand, but that is the perception of the general public.

There are many ways to help students work on their writing skills.  We have discussed a few of them before in previous blogs but I would like to hear more from our friends out there with the practices they are using currently to foster better writing skills amongst their deaf and hard of hearing students. Please post your comments below. Let's see what we can come up with as some innovative and creative ways to help out the population we love to serve.

Related previous blog posts:

 

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The many facets of sign language

Learning Tips   |  Thursday, June 6, 2013

By John Miller


Sign language is not a universal language.

Unfortunately sign language is NOT universal throughout the world. There is American Sign Language, British Sign Language, Spanish Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language, Ausian (Australian Sign Language) and many more. In fact, there are even multiple sign languages used in the United States (American Sign Language, Signed Exact English, regional dialects, etc.). Although one universal sign language would probably make things easier, just like with spoken language, the world would have a very difficult time trying to come up with whose way of doing it was the best way!

What is the difference between American Sign Language and other sign languages?

Sign language has many different facets to it.

American Sign Language (ASL) is the language created and used by the Deaf in the United States, Canada, parts of Mexico, and some other parts of the world. ASL has a limited amount of signs, but it is the purest language from the Deaf perspective. If you are using strict ASL and interpreting English, you often fingerspell words for which there are no signs. Being its own language, ASL not only has its own vocabulary, but also its own grammar and syntax that differs from English.

Signed Exact English (SEE) and other variations (Manually Coded English, Pidgin, etc…) are also "sign languages" used by some in North America. These languages typically use ASL signs as the base but add a lot more signs to reflect a larger part of the English vocabulary. This is often done using initialization (letter handshapes as you sign) to help clarify a specific word that otherwise might just be fingerspelled or signed with a conceptual similar word in strict ASL.

One example would be the sign for CAR. The ASL sign for CAR is two A hands gesturing like they are holding onto and moving a steering wheel. In ASL, this sign is used for any automobile you control with a steering wheel, including a car, truck, bus, van, etc. The English sign for CAR is two C hands, one on top of the other, moving away from each other. If you wanted to specify what type of car, the hand shape is modified to include the initial of the type of vehicle (c for car, v for van, b for bus, j for jeep, etc.).

Car Example
TIP: Signing Savvy shows multiple variations of signs and also lists the sign type (ASL, English, etc.)

This is where the term "initialized sign" comes from. You clarify the meaning by initializing the sign with the first letter of the intended English word. Therefore, using the English version allows one to specify exactly what is communicated in English. In ASL, you would use the ASL sign for car and if it was important to clarify the type of vehicle, you would follow the sign with a fingerspelling of the vehicle type (JEEP, for example). This is just one example.

Many in Deaf culture prefer to sign using strict ASL, using only pure American Sign Language signs. Some have accepted some English signs. However, many English signs are not accepted by those that practice strict ASL, and if you use them in your everyday signing, it could be frowned upon by the Deaf. It is best to watch how others are signing around you and ask if you are in doubt.

Regional signs and sign variations

There are also regional signs that you will see in different parts of North America. This is similar to the concept of regional accents in spoken languages, such as the southern drawl vs. the New York accent. Another example of regional variations in spoken languages is how in the north carbonated, sugary drinks are called "pop" and in the south, it is called "soda" or even just "coke." These same sort of regional accents and variations happen with signing, as well. Using one sign over another is not wrong... just different.

Signing Savvy signs

Signing Savvy focuses primarily on American Sign Language and signs used in the United States and Canada.

Since Signing Savvy is first and foremost a reference for folks signing or learning to sign in North America, it is important for us to also include other signs that you may encounter beyond just ASL signs. For that reason, we also include some commonly used English signs. However, we try to always list the ASL sign as the first sign variation on any given word.

We have tried to include known variations of signs, along with how to fingerspell each word. As you communicate through sign with others in your region, you will find out soon enough what is the more accepted or used sign in your area.

An example of a word with multiple sign variations is HAPPY. As you can see in the image below, Signing Savvy provides 3 sign variations for the word HAPPY, along with the fingerspelled version.

Example of Sign Variations

You can find many articles about sign language on the Signing Savvy website. This article is a compilation of several of our past articles:

 

 

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