American Sign Language. Asl who what where when why how to sign

Mansfield says her role in signing is a “dream opportunity” in an industry where it has been difficult to find a job. “When I auditioned for Deaf roles, sometimes I got the role and sometimes I didn’t. When I auditioned for deaf roles, I haven’t gotten them yet.”

American Sign Language

Young boy characters

American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, natural language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages, and the grammar is different from English. ASL is expressed by the movements of the hands and face. It is the primary language of many North American people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and is also spoken by some hearing people.

Is sign language the same in other countries?

There is no universal sign language. Different sign languages ​​are used in different countries or regions. For example, British Sign Language (BSL) is a different language to ASL, and Americans who know ASL may not understand BSL. Some countries adopt ASL features in their sign languages.

no person or committee had invented the ASL. The exact origins of sign language are unclear, but some suggest that it arose more than 200 years ago from a mixture of local sign languages ​​and French sign language (LSF or Langue des Signes Française). Today’s ASL includes some elements of the LSF and the original local sign languages; over time, they fused and turned into a rich, complex, and mature language. Modern ASL and modern LSF are separate languages. While they still contain some similar characters, they can no longer be understood by other users.

With your palm dominant, palm up, and held at waist level, less than one foot outward, bring your hand inward, towards the waist. You can also use a natural nod of the head.

The ASL App

The ASL app was developed by Ink & Salt, a company managed by the deaf. It is a visual only application that offers over 2,500 ASL characters and phrases. The app includes a slow motion option, a search index, and a favorites folder.

One reviewer said, “It makes learning the basics so easy.” Another said it was “the best app on the market.”

Basic functions are free for users. Additional offers, called character packs, are available for

Hands on ASL

If you want to learn spelling with your fingers, consider Hands on ASL. The visual only application uses the hands of the 3D model instead of videos or photos. You can bring your hands closer and rotate them to view them from different angles.

Hands on ASL offers game-style quizzes, not standard lessons. If you like playing games on your phone, you may like this feature.

One user said the app is “a great tool for anyone who needs to be able to communicate quickly and effectively using sign language.”

The app is free with optional in-app purchases. The free version contains ads that some users found “annoying.”

0.99 each. Each package has a theme such as colors or pop culture. A one-time purchase for $ 9.99 includes all current and future packages.


SignSchool was created by three friends, including a deaf person. Offers hundreds of character themes, multiple choice games, and a dialect dictionary. The app, which is only visual, also has a “Mark of the Day” feature. This makes it easier to learn a new sign on a daily basis.

With over 4,000 characters and 200 sub-topics, SignSchool is packed with educational content. However, some users disliked that the characters with multiple meanings lacked descriptions to explain the differences.

The app may be perfect for intermediate signers. Reviewers note that SignSchool may be best for people who “already know basic ASL and want to expand [their] vocabulary.”

The application is free for all users. It can also be used on a desktop computer.

In the sixth season of the series, Mansfield plays an animated character named and modeled after her. The performance settles it for the first time that the performance with the signature (signing) is credited together with the spoken performances (narratives).

Sign Language for Beginners : Common Expressions

Spelling words in everyday interactions is not always practical. This is where these phrases come in handy! You can use common phrases to meet people, show appreciation, and communicate with friends.

A one-word question can keep the conversation going and help you get to know others. An important part of asking questions with sign language is using your face to appear inquisitive as you sign. When asking a yes or no question, the eyebrows are raised. For questions that may require a more detailed answer, the eyebrows are lowered.

The following video guide from Victoria, the ASL language teacher, has many important phrases including basic questions like these!

Basic words and phrases in sign language for children

Parents are advised to expose their deaf or hard of hearing children to sign language as early as possible. In most hospitals in the United States, newborns are tested for hearing loss so that parents can encourage them to learn the language as soon as possible. Language skills develop along with cognitive and social skills, and teaching your child ASL – or learning it with him – is a great way to grow together.

There are certain words and phrases that are especially important when communicating with children. Some of these phrases are: “I love you”, “What’s going on?” and “Good job!” Watch Bill Vicars of go over some of the most important phrases to know as a parent.

To expand your sign language vocabulary even further, watch Dr. Bill rewrite 100 words in Sign Language for Beginners :

Other basics of sign language

If you are new to ASL, there are some important facts you should know about signing. First, ASL goes beyond hand gestures – facial expressions and body language also play a key role in communication. For example, we saw that you use your eyebrows when you ask a question.

Then you should know that ASL is not used all over the world. Other sign styles, such as British Sign Language (BSL), differ in many important respects, although some migrants may still communicate in basic form. Cultures around the world have developed their own ways of communicating using signs, and it’s interesting to find out how people communicate in languages ​​other than ASL.

The Best Way to Learn ASL for Beginners

As with any type of language learning, developing your signing skills takes time and persistence. While learning a few basic sign language words is easy, mastering ASL takes years of practice. One of the greatest achievements in learning ASL is the ability to connect teachers, students and friends using a webcam. ASL online lessons enable you to build your sign language skills from anywhere in the world.

While lesson videos, books, and online resources are great for learning ASL vocabulary and basics, there’s no substitute for working face-to-face with your teacher. Private Lessons allow you to receive real-time feedback and personalized lesson plans so that your sign language skills can be fully expressive.

Ready to take your ASL skills to the next level? Find your sign language teacher today!

Creative and Deaf-led teams of the show’s consultants talk to The Hollywood Reporter about the sign language animation process and the decision to sign a deal with artist Shaylee Mansfield.


Keep your open, flat left hand still with the palm facing your chest, fingers together but thumb pointing up. Hold your right hand the same way – flat with your thumb pointing up – and let the side of your little finger slide back and forth as your left thumb bends.

Touch the chin with the palm of the crooked or bent “5” position: Keep the palm upright, fingers together and thumb pointing outwards; now bend your fingers from the knuckles so that the fingers are at a 90º angle to the palm of your hand and touch your fingers to the chin. Now change the shape of the hand to “S”:

Clench your fist with your thumb on the first two fingers. To say, “I care,” point to yourself before making the sign of concern. This sign also means “I love.”


Keep your left hand flat, palm facing up, fingers together at chest level. With your right hand flat, palm down and fingers joined, rub with your left hand, away from your body. Think about petting a pet – your left hand is a pet; the right hand is doing a stroking. This sign also means “pretty.”

Place the four fingers together and the thumb of your dominant hand on your chest, thumb up, and circle twice.

The Emily Post Institute would like to thank Anne Potter and Deborah Lamden for their invaluable help in developing magic words and caring for and sharing words in sign language.

The Emily Post Institute would like to thank Anne Potter and Deborah Lamden for their invaluable help in developing magic words and caring for and sharing words in sign language.

How one young actor is using American Sign Language in animation

Shaylee and Gloria v

Shaylee and Gloria in “Madagascar A Little Wild” (animated by DreamWorks)

At just 12 years old, Shaylee Mansfield is already entering new territory with the animated series “Madagascar: A Little Wild”. Despite her young age, it took her some time to get here.

In an interview with Salon, she said she started acting “by accident,” but according to her mother, Mansfield was born “with the camera.” At an early age, she began making videos with her family on the ASL Nook YouTube channel, which teaches American Sign Language (ASL) and aspects of Deaf culture.

Mansfield was born deaf to deaf parents. Her little sister hears. The entire family was profiled in the special documentary Born This Way Presents: Deaf Out Loud, executive produced by Oscar-winning Marlee Matlin.

Although Mansfield said she “loves being in front of the camera just getting it out of the way,” ASL Nook soon became an influential channel, especially among hearing families raising deaf children. In one of the most popular films, little Mansfield sits cross-legged in an armchair in front of a Christmas tree and, with the gravity of a Shakespearean actor, makes a children’s book The Polar Express. She is mesmerizing.

Her big acting hiatus came with “Noelle”, the 2019 Disney + holiday movie starring Anna Kendrick. Mansfield plays a young girl who believes in Santa Kendrick. “We all thought it was a one-off because Deaf roles weren’t that common,” said Mansfield.

But she started booking ads. One for Disney World, featuring her entire family in an amusement park communicating with characters who know or are learning sign language, went viral and won the LA Addys Gold Award, the advertising industry’s biggest award. Her first lead role was in the 2020 Netflix film “Feel the Beat” in which she played a dancer.

The art of signing

Shaylee interacts with Dave in “Madagascar: A Little Wild” (DreamWorks)

As if all of this wasn’t enough, Mansfield is even teaching the entertainment industry new ways to engage deaf actors. She reached this final milestone with her work in the series “Madagascar: A Little Wild,” the prequel to the DreamWorks Animation series of films about animals at the Central Park Zoo who decide to escape.

In the sixth season of the series, Mansfield plays an animated character named and modeled after her. The performance settles it for the first time that the performance with the signature (signing) is credited together with the spoken performances (narratives).

“Giving recognition is a big deal,” said Mansfield. “It should have happened a long time ago.”

Her acting in the animated series must have happened in Zoom, due to the pandemic. “There is no plan, no props, and no people to bounce off,” said Mansfield. “I had to sign my lines a few times, a bit slower, at different angles so that the animators could catch on the drawing.”

Her favorite part of this experience? “I’m going all the way with an expression on my face.”

Sign language is more than just hand signs, but complex languages ​​with a grammar that includes facial expressions, body movements, various dialects, and regional accents. And ASL is just one type of sign language. As Mansfield wrote on her Facebook page, “the word” voice “is not just for people who” speak “through their mouths. My hands and tongue are largely my voice.”

Other features include a searchable dictionary, quizzes, and exercises to practice conversational dialogues. The app also offers Austrian Sign Language (OEGS.

Find out what’s happening in Memphis with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Battle – now twenty – exited Tennessee’s childcare system, now 20, lives under the supervision of the Department for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which does not provide any staff or interpreters who are fluent in sign language in his group home, during medical visits or during medical appointments a regular visit focused on meetings aimed at understanding Battle’s wishes about daily life and its goals for the future.

In February 2020, Battle was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed with depression, aggression, psychosis and suicidal thoughts. His doctors attributed his condition in part to a feeling of isolation. Their discharge plan advised Battle to speak to staff in his group home if he felt depressed. He also gave him the phone number for the suicide hotline.

Find out what’s happening in Memphis with free, real-time updates from Patch.

However, Battle is unable to speak to personnel who do not speak US Sign Language, and cannot call the Suicide Helpline because they have not been provided with technology to enable deaf people to communicate on the phone.

Battle, whose circumstances are set out in an 88-page legal petition, is one of five American Sign Language deaf people who are suing the state’s Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for failure to provide equal access to services under the U.S the Disability Act and the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against people receiving federally funded services.

Dontay Battle, 20, was diagnosed with depression and suicidal thoughts, which were in part attributed to his isolation. His group home in Shelby County did not provide for the only language he knew: American Sign Language.

“It’s been a systemic problem for a very long time,” said Stacie Price, an attorney with Disability Rights Tennessee, who is also one of the plaintiffs in the trial, representing clients across the state. “These are services that are critical to a person in every aspect of his life.”

The lawsuit, filed in federal court on Friday, is seeking monetary damages to Battle and other plaintiffs, along with finding that two state agencies violated federal law by discriminating against deaf people. The lawsuit also seeks to issue an injunction requiring Tennessee agencies to comply with the law by providing interpreters, technology, or other assistance to the deaf people they serve.

Neither the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities nor the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse responded to a request for comment on the allegations in the lawsuit.

American Sign Language is different from spoken English, it has its own grammar and syntax – not just the pantomime of spoken words. Deaf ASL users may also have difficulty understanding spoken English, and often lack proficiency in written English, as noted in the lawsuit.

Without giving individuals the ability to communicate in their own language, “I just wonder how they think a deaf person would understand things,” said James Calvert, 62, an electrician and spokesman for the deaf community. Calvert, who is also deaf, is not involved in the trial. “This is a very serious situation.”

The state’s lack of ASL interpreters for Battle and other deaf people receiving state-funded services “was devastating,” the lawsuit said.

“Without effective communication (they) have been living in isolation for years, unable to socialize, express concern or share how they feel,” the lawsuit said. “They are lonely and frustrated. They do not have access to (state) services that would allow them to improve their quality of life. They have lost their tongue and / or are at serious risk of losing their tongue. It is a refusal to communicate effectively and the resulting loss of language also hinders the delivery of effective treatment services.”

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“Several times in the past when there were no deaf people involved, I had to double and triple my work to defend myself,” says THR. “This job was completely different – I was free to choose my preferred translator. It allowed me to concentrate on getting the best results.”

GABI (voiced by Ynairaly Simo) and VIVO (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda).

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A Little Wild already debuted Dave and his sister Pickles, the animal embodiment of SODA (the siblings of an adult Deaf), in September 2020 during the show’s first season. In addition to their inclusion, a team of Deaf-led consultants – Delbert and Jevon Whetter and Justin Maurer – were called in to help the show accurately and authentically portray the two chimpanzees and American Sign Language.

“In Dave’s case, you have a character who communicates in another language, as do deaf people in the United States as a marginalized community and as a linguistic minority,” says Maurer, who is himself a CODA (child of a deaf adult). “Pikles basically connects communication, allowing her brother to chat with other zoo animals that are not yet fluent in sign language, which some characters pick up a little later.”

Working with DreamWorks preschool production from the first episode, the trio and supervising director TJ Sullivan developed a process for animating the ASL of two chimpanzees with video references which they then used for Shaylee through a slightly modified Zoom process.

In making the translation decisions for the ASL program, the team was aware that deaf children may have different signs – for example, hearing children speak differently than adults – and simplified or developed creative solutions for signs that were initially too complex to be animated. Consultants also looked at how a character can stand in the frame to show their ASL, and in the case of chimpanzees, a sign hanging upside down from a branch or even with legs that have opposing big toes.

“The answers were often yes, and Jevon demonstrated how to do that,” says Del.

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Twelve-year-old deaf actress Shaylee Mansfield saw the band work with Dave and Pickles and was introduced to Del and Jevon during a panel discussion on the program hosted by RespectAbility. After this incident, Mansfield’s mother asked if the production needed a deaf actor by triggering the “professional dream” Del had before production “to have the deaf actor execute his dialogue lines for the animated characters in sign language, using what I call” registration.’”

Mansfield’s arrival also finally made it clearer how Madagascar: A Little Wild can bridge the gap between their animal and human characters, with both using ASL. “It was a piece of paper on the wall in the writers’ room, and then Shaylee accidentally reached out,” says Stein. “Then the card flashed in my brain and I thought,” Oh, I think this can all connect.’”

The show’s initial plans to introduce a boy-man were spinning with Mansfield on board, and now the young girl has taken on Mansfield’s namesake. She was then recognized as the artist of “sign over” Shaylee – a historic moment for the industry based on voice work. “What’s so great about Shaylee playing this character is that he signs in differently from anyone else,” says Stein of casting a deaf actress. “It was a real eye opener for me because of course why would we assume that anyone who knows sign language could play this character?”

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