Learning Tips Blog Articles

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 ...
How long until I am a fluent signer?

How long until I am a fluent signer?

By John Miller  |  Friday, April 30, 2010

Many people often ask me this question. That is really a hard one to answer because everyone's rate of learning a new language varies greatly. The motivation behind the learning is going to be a key factor as well as the opportunity to actually practice what you are learning with multiple signers. It is important to practice signing with, and reading from, many signers as you learn so you don't just get used to the way one particular person ...
Tips for Reading Fingerspelling

Tips for Reading Fingerspelling

By John Miller  |  Saturday, March 13, 2010

Many people talk to me about their frustrations with fingerspelling and want suggestions on how to improve their receptive skills when it comes to reading fingerspelling. My suggestions tend to follow a lot of the same rules that apply to teaching a child to read: Practice, practice, pratice...the more you work on reading other people's fingerspelling, the better you will get. Everyone's fingers are different so it is important to practice with many different partners in order to experience all the ...
Using Figurative Language with Sign

Using Figurative Language with Sign

By John Miller  |  Thursday, February 25, 2010

Many people have asked how to sign things that say one thing but mean something else. This happens a lot in the English Language! Some Examples: It's raining cats and dogs!, or You look really sharp today. Now as native users of the English language, we know that neither cats or dogs are falling from the skies .nor is the person in the second sentence looking rather pointed. These are concepts that people who are learning English as a ...
Conceptually Correct Signs

Conceptually Correct Signs

By John Miller  |  Friday, November 13, 2009

Consider the following sentences: I won’t stand for this! You need to stand up please. This flag stands for freedom. In each of these statements the word STAND is used. It is spelled the exact same way, pronounced the exact same way, yet it has VERY different meanings in each of it’s uses above. Now one form of sign language, Signing Exact English, would tell you to sign the word STAND the same in all three sentences because of their 2 out of 3 ...
Does it matter what hand you use?

Does it matter what hand you use?

By John Miller  |  Thursday, September 10, 2009

When signing, it does not matter if you sign as left-hand or right-hand dominant. The biggest thing to remember is to pick which hand you want to use as the dominant hand and stick with it. You should not switch back and forth between dominant hands. Most signers will be able to understand your signs no matter which hand you use as the dominant hand. I am actually left-handed but choose to use my right hand as the more dominant hand ...
Signing People's Names in Sign Language

Signing People's Names in Sign Language

By John Miller  |  Saturday, March 28, 2009

Signs for common names? My name is John, which, as you can guess, is a pretty common name. The benefit of having a common name growing up is that whenever I went into a gift shop that had items with names on them, such as cups, buttons, belts, or what-have-you, I could always find one with my name on it. In sign langage, unlike the items in the gift shop, there is no sign for John. That is, there is no ...
The many facets of sign language

The many facets of sign language

By John Miller  |  Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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 ...