Home 60 Basic ASL Sign Language For Beginners

60 Basic ASL Sign Language For Beginners

Sign language is essentially a language that makes use of manual communication for conveying meanings. Examples include simultaneously employing facial expressions, orientation of the body, arms or fingers and hand gestures to convey the ideas of the speaker.

There are a lot of significant similarities that basic sign languages share with respective spoken languages such as American English and ASL. The sentence structure and the grammar might however vary so as to encourage fluidity and efficiency in speaking.

According to linguists, sign communication and spoken communication form a type of natural language since both languages have emerged from a protracted and abstract aging process, and evolved in course of time without any meticulous planning whatsoever.

It is important to note that sign language and body language are two different concepts, with the latter concerning itself solely with physical non verbal communication. Sign language has been developed over the years primarily to enable deaf people to effectively communicate one another.


Why Was Sign Language Invented?

Sign Language was invented in the year 1620 with the primary purpose of making communication among deaf people a possibility. A man by the name of Juan Pablo de Bonet wrote a book which contained the first well known system of manual alphabets.

Sign Langauge

The different hand shapes that form a part of this system are believed to represent different speech sounds. While this is quite an important accomplishment on the part of Juan Pablo de Bonet, it is necessary to understand that what he invented is not the first ever manual alphabet in the world but rather, a new manual alphabet system.

There are some who believe that sign language gradually came into being due to efforts undertaken by people living in Martha’s Vineyard. The MVSL or the Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language as it is popularly known is one of the earliest forms of the sign language that was put great use in the Martha’s Vineyard Island situated right off the Massachusetts Coast. Hereditary deafness is something that is quite common in this island ever since the seventeenth century. While Bonet invented the first official sign language so to speak, what the people of Martha’s Vineyard Island brought into existence came to have quite a substantial and significant impact on schools meant for deaf people in the years to come.

Another individual who is commonly credited with the invention of the sign language as we know it today is Charles Michael de L’Epee. It was in the year 1771 that Charles Michael de L’Epee established the very first school meant for deaf children in the city of Paris. At this school of sign language, the deaf were educated using a standard sign language that was created by L’Epee and people often consider L’Epee as the first inventor of the sign language as this standard language came to be the most widely used sign language round the globe.

What L’Epee essentially did however was to learn the different sign languages that deaf children who came to this school, were using at home and combined these different sign languages to create one standard language for their benefit. As a result, L’Epee like Bonet ended up creating an alphabetical system rather than a language, with his French standard sign language acquiring huge popularity all over Europe.

In 1817 the first school for deaf children was established in the country of America by Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc. Both these individuals are credited with the invention of the modern day American Sign Language or ASL. Deaf children from all over the world came to attend this school and brought with them the various sign languages that they were using at home.

Such home sign languages were then combined together with L’Epee’s French standardised sign language to form the American Sign Language. ASL continued to grow and evolve as the deaf children attending this school came up with novel and unique ways to communicate with one another over the years.


Why Learn Basic Sign Language?

While this may sound a little strange, there are indeed many good reasons to learn a sign language. People who communicate with sign language are usually known to be quite cool, so when you learn a sign language, you not only get to learn and embrace something new but you also get to engage with a lot of interesting and unique people upon doing so.

Why Learn Sign Language

You get to tell stories a lot better than what you usually do when you make use of sign language. This is because stories that are conveyed in sign language create a lasting and vivid imagery in the mind of the person to whom the story is being told. The pictures and symbols used in the course of storytelling get stuck in a person’s mind without any single word being spoken.

Sign language is not just about the hands. It is also about body language and facial expressions. When you engage in rigorous hand movements, intensive facial expressions and body language to convey ideas in the sign language, you get to burn plenty of calories than you would have otherwise by simply talking and giving out your ideas. Communicating in sign language thus helps you to lose weight and keep yourself fit.

Sign language is a medium of communication that relies heavily on body language and facial expressions. When you gather expertise in sign language you thus become an expert in reading the body language of people very easily. It will be quite hard for people to fool you since you are going to be able to read them so well now.

If you are looking for ways and means to hit it off with the opposite sex then learning basic sign language would be one of the best ways to do so. There can be nothing more impressive than learning something that is as new and unique as a sign language and by taking classes in sign language you may just find yourself becoming far more appealing with the opposite sex than you were before.

A good reason to learn sign language is that the fact that you dot need to make use of technology whatsoever when you choose to communicate in such language. All you need to do is perform the correct finger and hand movements and the correct facial expressions in order to get your ideas across.

Earning a lot of money as a translator or an interpreter is something that you are definitely going to be able to do as someone who is well trained in signed languages. You also get to give deaf people the assistance that they need in their daily life by helping them to communicate their thoughts and ideas to those who don’t understand them.

A great reason to be learning sign languages is the fact that this gives you the opportunity to carry out private conversations in public spaces. You get to express yourself and your ideas and emotions without having people around you decipher this easily.


Types Of Sign Language

There are three major forms of Sign Languages. They are American Sign Language (ASL), Pigdin Signed English (PSE) & Signed Exact English (SEE).

Types Of Sign Language

  • American Sign Language

American Sign Language is a well known natural language that is predominant among deaf communities in the United States of America and Canada. ASL based creoles and ASL dialects are also used in many different parts of the globe such as in certain countries of Southeast Asia and West Africa. ASL is often learned by people around the world as a second language and has close resemblance to French. ASL as a language originated in the famous school for deaf children in America that was established in the early part of the 19th century. Since then, ASL came to be used quit widely in schools meant for deaf people all over America.

The ASL signs are comprised of Phonemic components that include the movement of the torso and the face as well as the hands. While ASL cannot be regarded as a form of pantomime, it is necessary to note that iconicity plays a far more crucial role in ASL than it does in any spoken language. ASL grammar is not related to English grammar. ASL has aspectual marking and verbal agreement with a very productive system of agglutinative classifier formation. Certain linguists regard ASL as an SVO or subject-verb-object language though there are many alternative proposals that can account for the ASL word order.

  • Pigdin Signed English

Pigdin Signed English is as sign language that entails a combination of English and the American Sign Language or ASL. ASL is known to be quite distinct as a language and cannot be regarded as similar to English in any way. The ASL syntax is very different and there are no equivalents in English for specific words that are used as a part of the ASL language. People who are culturally deaf and who sign with each other make use of ASL but there are many people who are hard of hearing or frequently deaf learning sign language later in their lives, after having learnt English first that is, who do not sign in ASL strictly but rather using a mixture of English and ASL that is known as Pigdin Signed English or PSE.

When communicating in PSE, a person may sign using approximately an English syntax and sign mostly the English words in a sentence. PSE is not the same as Signed Exact English or SEE that makes use of exact English sign language words and signs that do not even exist in the ASL and the exact English order of words. PSE is mainly used by people who speak English as the primary language. Culturally deaf people tend to be quite adept at understanding as well as using PSE when signing with a person who does not use ASL strictly.

  • Signed Exact English

Signed Exact English is a form of manual communication which strives to represent with full exactness the English grammar and vocabulary. It is widely used in a number of English speaking countries and is related in a significant way to SEE-1 or Seeing English Language that was invented in the year 1971 and which is based on English word morphemes. Signed Exact English uses a lot of the vocabulary that is contained in American Sign Language or ASL. It however modifies the hand shapes which are used in ASL for the purpose of using the hand shape of the very first letter of a corresponding English word. When it comes to Signed Exact English the four components of the signs include movement, location, orientation and hand shape.

A huge reason for the popularity of the Signed Exact English language is the fact that it is quite easy to pick up. It has promoted reading skills in deaf children by a considerable degree and has actually helped deaf children to graduate from school and even attend college. Signed Exact English is easy to use and master for non verbal and non deaf individuals who have highly receptive skills in the English language, such as autistic children for example.


60 Basic Sign Language

Sign language is used by deaf person to convey message to others. Sign language includes hand shapes, body movements & facial expressions for expressing or communicating.

learn Sign Languages

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Sign Language Alphabets

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Benefits Of Learning

  • Increasing Popularity

One of the best reasons to be learning sign languages is the growing popularity of such communication. American Sign Language is one of the most studied forms of communication in America colleges and universities as per the statistics that have been recently produced by the Modern Language Association. As many as two million people speak the American Sign Language in the country of America alone and several more are known to engage in its use and expression in other parts of the world. American Sign Language is certainly the third or fourth most used language in the USA after English and Spanish.

  • Bilingualism promotes Brain Functioning

Bilingualism is something that can stimulate the activities of the brain to a considerable extent. It enhances and enriches the cognitive process and higher abstract as well as creative thinking. It also allows for greater cognitive ability, better problem solving, greater academic achievement and better listening skills. Bilingualism is also seen to promote literacy and cultural awareness. Sign languages also include the use of Bimodalism whereby using visual spatial mediums can lead to expansion of visual perceptual skills, visual sensitivity, mental rotation skill and spatial awareness. The mental stimulus received helps an individual to think and perceive far more clearly and easily than before.

  • An Effective Means of Communication for Deaf Babies

Speech is a medium of communication rather than a language. It is therefore extremely important for babies who are born deaf to be exposed to a natural language in the first two years of their growth. The eye is to the deaf baby what the ear is to the hearing baby so the deaf baby should be allowed to access its own language right from birth so that they can acquire their own milestones and develop their own literary skills using different means, that is, by the ear or by the eye. Later on, children who are born deaf can be made to learn a second language, that is English, at their own pace and convenience.

  • A Beautiful and Lucrative Language to Learn

Sign language by itself is quite a beautiful and graceful medium of communication and is something that is truly worth learning even on the part of those who are not disabled it and who are not required to put it to use in their daily lives. In fact, capable individuals can actually learn sign language to teach deaf children and adults, act as translators or interpreters on their behalf and end up earning a lot of money upon doing so.


Sign Language Apps

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Paid Sign Language Apps

Curious App

The Curious App is a paid app that can be used by those looking to learn sign languages. It is an app that one can log into using a social media platform like Facebook.com. The site contains a wide range of videos that show a person how to easily sign off a number of simple things such as introductions and greetings.

There are also a number of interactive features like sign language lessons and quizzes that app users can take advantage of. The Curious App is affordably priced and can be procured within a range of $ 20 to $50 depending on the number of interactive features it contains.

ASL Finger Spelling

Finger spelling forms an important part of learning a sign language like the American Sign Language. The ASL Finger Spelling App is one that gives its users to speed up their various finger spelling techniques and thus master the ASL a lot more easily than usual. The app can be downloaded into any smart phone without difficulty and is available for a price as meagre as $ 3.99. The ASL Finger Spelling App can thus be easily afforded by people of every budget.

My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary

My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary

This is an English language app that is compatible with both Android and IOS phones. The app contains an instructional video made by an ASL expert that runs for forty five minutes. The video dictionary demonstrates the different ASL signs and explains as to how basic sign language signs may be made, remembered and understood.

The app can be bought for a small price of $ 0.99 and is thus something that can be easily afforded by sign language enthusiasts of just about any and every economic background. The download and installation process is also an easy one.

Baby Sign Language Dictionary

The Baby Sign Language Dictionary is meant to be used by deaf children who are below four years of age. It is compatible with android and IOS systems and is available in languages like English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese. There are forty signing video demonstrations in this app that help a person to understand how to sign language with his or her own baby.

Every sign is well explained by means of a detailed and rigorous video tutorial with the tutorial being organized into many different categories such as daily feelings and routines, action words and animals. The app can be bought for a price of $ 2.99.

Baby Sign and Learn

ASL Dictionary

ASL Dictionary

This is a great sign language app that can be procured within four dollars and which helps the user to understand how to perform the different signs of the American Sign Language.

The app is easy to download and use and is compatible with a wide range of operating systems including the android and the IOS operating systems. It also helps one to learn common basic sign language phrases associated with ASL and to communicate effectively with people who are really hard of hearing.

Free Sign Language Apps

Web Sign Basic

This is a free sign language app that is programmed in the English language and which is compatible with the Android and IOS systems. What this app helps in doing is communicating with deaf children who belong to the school going age. The grammar and the different nuances that are associated with the American Sign Languages are what can be easily learnt by making use of such an app. The Web Sign Language Basic App is designed to make a person become truly proficient in the ASL language in a matter of minutes.

WeSign Basic

ASL Coach

ASL Coach - 'American Sign Language'

The ASL Coach is a free sign language app that is meant for use in IOS phones only. It can be downloaded in a smooth and hassle free manner and installed without difficulty as well.

While it can take the app some time to start working effectively in the phone that it is used in, once installed it can really help a person to master all the ASL alphabets in a quick and easy manner. The ASL coach is an app that is free from viruses and is convenient to use for those learning the ASL for the very first time.


The ASL Pro is also a free sign language app that comes with an extensive range of quizzes that users can participate in so as to master the American Sign Language. There are a number of finger spelling practices and a wonderful dictionary that also forms an important part of this app. The ASL Pro comes with a number of sign language video tutorials as well that instruct users on how to sign off hundreds of words in the American Sign Language. While the app has an old school interface and appearance, in essence it is not old school at all.


Start ASL

Start ASL

This is a well known free sign language app that comes with an alphabet, one dictionary with videos and workbooks. The app also provides users with a lot of background history on ASL as well as deaf culture and makes sure that all sign language lessons conducted using this app are well rounded ones.

Sign Language for Beginners

This is also a sign language app that can be used for free and it is compatible only with android phones. It features simple illustrations that show app users how to show basic sign language words, letters and numbers in the American Sign Language.

Sign Language for Beginners



It may well be concluded that sign language has emerged as one of the most effective and reliable forms of communication with the deaf and that it has enabled a vast section of an otherwise disabled population to gradually integrate itself with mainstream living.

Learning sign languages is now fun and easy due to the prevalence of various phone apps, both free and paid ones that exist for this purpose. As the days go by, the learning of sign languages for beginners seems to become more of a skill to be acquired rather than something that is needed for interacting with deaf people alone.