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How To Learn Sign Language

VLOG: 5 Resolutions to Practice and Improve Your ASL!


Hello! Happy Monday. Today, it’s still the beginning of the year and many people have been asking me about learning ASL: Their goal is to really become a skilled, fluent signer, but they don’t really know how to move forward! So, all situations are different — different situations, experiences, areas, the availability of classes varies, I understand. Today, I want to offer a few different suggested goals for you to help you learn ASL, depending on your current situation. Number one: If fingerspelling is challenging, I suggest that you fingerspell all day, everyday! When you go out — maybe you’re commuting, just look around! Maybe you see signs for stores or restaurants… so THAT! While you’re looking around, fingerspell! You don’t need to lift your hand and fingerspell up high for everyone. While your hands are moving to your sides, just kind of move the fingers, practice going from letter letter — it just looks like you’re fidgeting or moving, but you can be fingerspelling. It’s good practice — a good opportunity to see new words and practice making the fingerspelling smooth. Number 2: If you’re more advanced (or even not), I suggest that your 2017 goal is: once a month, go to a Deaf event! Meet people, socialize. Maybe you live near city that has different kinds of Deaf theatre, different opportunities for you to go. So look for opportunities to meet and see real Deaf signers. That’s the way that you truly improve, and it helps you build confidence! Number 3: Every day, watch Deaf signers. How? There are many different Deaf news shows online; you can watch those! For example: DTV has a news show. There’s another called “TRU BIZ”. And another: The Daily Moth, and all have different videos everyday describing recent events — the Deaf community yes, but also the hearing world – just normal everyday news, so it’s a good opportunity because all those videos are signed in ASL so you can watch and try to understand. If you understand, great! If you don’t follow, that’s fine, too. They’ll have closed captions so you can read the captions and match to the signs to learn and improve. Number 4: Plan to study more in-depth and immerse yourself in Deaf history and cultural studies. You can do this through books, DVDs, there are lot of great resources that you can read and watch to learn about — not only learn the language but also about the people who *use* ASL — that’s important, too! If you’re curious, if you want to get started, my website at ASLMeredith.com has a page with resources for you, so you can check that out and see if there’s anything you want to learn there! For example, here are a few books: Just a few — there are many books, DVDs, and so on that can help you, so I strongly suggest that your 2017 goal is to read, watch, and learn. Number 5: Join a class! If you haven’t yet joined a class, I suggest that you try. I understand that not all areas have classes available, but my goal for you is to at least LOOK. Maybe a city near you has a college that teaches ASL, or maybe there’s a Deaf school. If it’s an elementary, middle, high school, college… doesn’t matter! Maybe they have classes that you can join — even night classes, they might be four children or for adults, too. OR, you can ask there — they might have teachers that offer private lessons and private classes. Plus, a few areas have ASL-specific schools, so I suggest that you research your area; look and ask around, and try to find a class or private teacher for you. Really, a class is the best way to learn, for two reasons: One is the interaction component; you’re actually with other students and the teacher, so you’re socializing, communicating, having conversations back and forth using ASL. You’re not just watching and mimicking; instead, you actually have interactions back and forth! Plus, secondly, the teacher can give feedback! So you WILL improve. So again, let’s go over those five: First, fingerspell all day, everyday, and everywhere. Second, once a month, find a Deaf event and go. Third, watch Deaf news; try to understand the signing. Four, read books and watch DVDs to help learn ASL and Deaf history and culture. Number five, look for a class you can join! Those are all good ways to practice and really take your ASL studies to the next level, take a little more seriously. Thanks for watching! And if you follow or try out at least one or two of those, please let me know!! Let me know how everything goes — I’m excited for you and I want to learn how everything works out. Thanks for watching!

25 Replies to “VLOG: 5 Resolutions to Practice and Improve Your ASL!”

  • Thanks for the advice. I am way to eager to learn ASL and become fluent with signing. Thank you so much for the help. Can i ask you a question……i watch videos and a lot of them have them being narrated; is this good for a person learning. Should i be turning the sound down and just focusing on the signing? Do you feel for a beginner its best to utilize sound and visuals? I just dont want to hinder my progress in any way. I live in philadelphia. I attend adult classes when they are available in my area. i just finished ASL1.1 and will hopefully(if enough people enroll) be attending Pennsylvania School For the DEAF classes 1.2 which is to start Jan 30,2017, one day a week. So i am so excited about this class. i am having a hard time finding deaf events and also very nervous to go alone to the ones i do find. Hopefully i can find a person that is learning ASL like myself and we can attend together. Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

  • Nice vlog, Meredith! I noticed you signed "The Moth" when it is actually "The Daily Moth." You did manage to get it right in the video's description. Ha. Also, regarding "The Daily Moth," Alex who is the host tends to post transcripts of his news videos as that can be super helpful for hearing people who want to take on the challenge of understanding the news he covers in ASL.

    There's another way for people to learn ASL informally. That is by going to websites where they can post a request for a private tutor to teach them ASL among other things like math, English, science, etc.

  • 😊👍 thanks for very great suggestions and yes I'll try to practice that. i see asl as knowledge rather than a language. and people like you is giving me alot of it thanq very much Meredith ☺️..and one more thing i wana know how we sigh for vegetables like tomato carrot etc ..

  • Thank you Meredith for your video: 5 Resolutions to practice… hope your starting a great week you really work so hard and your interest for helping me to learn again thank you very very much.

  • Hello ~ Do you study is an American sign language?
    I am deaf, so I want to ask you. 👆👍meaning is Chinese Sign Language "Hello"

  • Great video.👍 I do have a question about ASL and PSE. If I signed in PSE would it make a difference to speaking to someone who signs in ASL? I'm still confused on the whole difference about ASL and PSE and how the syntax is different. Also I'm wanting to be an interpreter so would I need to sign in ASL or PSE?

  • I'm new, and I haven't watched many of your videos, and I want to thank my fans friends and family for everything, so can you tell me how to say "Thank you for everything"

  • Thank you so much. This really helped me out. I didn't hit a plateau sort of speak but I just felt like I didn't know how to improve or further educate myself because I really do want to learn and be able to sign. So again, thanks for your guidance.

  • I live in a very small town, so I don't think there are any deaf events, but if I meet some one who is deaf, then I'll give it my best shot to hold a conversation! XD :3

  • I feel really happy, because I started learning ASL like just a few days ago, and I can already understand some of the things you say! (like not when your shwing a new sign, but when you're just signing/talking normaly) maybe at some point I can mute the video and cover up the captions! :3

  • Thank you Meredith, I have been buried watching "Switched at Birth" I enjoy the show, but I also look for mistakes as my ASL facebook group says they speak in exact English and some oral readers are too perfect. But yeah I do tend to fingerspell anywhere and even sign, I don't really care if people watch me. I am learning and love it so much. Funny found myself fingerspelling in bed many times lol. =)

  • i watched switched at birth and that inspired me to want to learn asl. by the way i love your videos #switchedatbirth

  • My children and I are learning ASL, and you have been so helpful! Thank you so much for all you do! We have no classes in our town and my goal is to become fluent and be able to teach a class at our local library!

  • Thank you so much for your videos. I'm learning so much. I watch your videos everyday. I'm am now taking my 2nd ASL class..

  • This might be a stupid question, but would you recommend a book about ASL that is an audiobook, or would that lose some of the importance? I listen to most books as audiobooks in the car.

  • Meredith , you are great in Sign Language and explaining What to do for a person to get better in Sign Language . But Sorry , don't like the person who Interprets for you . Meredith I give you a Grade of A + GOD Bless you .

  • Thank you, Meredith, for this video. My aim for 2019 is to really boost my ASL proficiency, and all of your suggestions are , of course, right on point. I feel myself improving , almost daily, even if no one else does!

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