If you know someone that uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate or you are just expanding your knowledge for personal enrichment, the ASL visual dictionary online is an exceptional resource. The dictionary is just one of the many free online courses and educational sources found on the ASL website.
ASL Visual Dictionary Online
Learning ASL is much more than just memorizing the signs and constructing sentences with signs that mimic the English language. Just like any language, the words have to be accompanied by grammar and proper syntax to make sense. However, the ASL visual dictionary online is a great place to learn the basics and is as easy to use as any other free online library or free online encyclopedia.
Online Dictionary Features
The ASL online visual dictionary is broken into five sections, all accessible by individual links. These different areas include the Main Dictionary, Religious Signs, Conversational Phrases, ASL for Babies and QuizMe Products.
This is a good place to start as it includes thousands of basic words and phrases that would provide enough ASL information to conduct basic communications with a hearing-impaired person. The words are divided by letter and each letter is accessed by simply clicking on it to access the word list.
This section is divided alphabetically, just like the main dictionary. It includes signing information for most of the world's religious names and sects as well as words, phrases and references to spiritual figures for each belief.
Instead of having to learn individual words to communicate, this dictionary section breaks down the information by categories that can be expounded upon for further details. For instance, under Clothes and Shopping are phrases on how to ask if an item comes in a certain color, how to ask for a haircut and the best way to inquire about pricing, among many other common issues. The 28 categories cover valuable topics such as English idioms, Food, Money and Sports and Recreation.
ASL for Babies
Using an alphabetical sorting system, this educational reference link contains words and phrases appropriate for babies who are just learning how to communicate. It includes word related to colors, food, toys, vehicles, sounds, animals, family member designations like mother, uncle and sister, bodily functions, daily chores and directional words like up, down, under, etc.
Fingerspell is found at this link and provides a self-testing video feature. You can choose how many questions you want on your quiz, anywhere from five to thirty, and how fast you want the pace of the quiz, from slow to medium or fast. A picture of a human hand appears on screen depicting a letter of the alphabet for each question and a space is provided to type in your answer. A more advanced quiz depicts different people on the screen spelling out words using ASL and there are four answers from which to choose. The program tells you whether you are right or wrong, provides the correct answer if you make an error, and calculates your score at the end of the exercise.
Other ASL Offerings
Teachers can use the Language Pro section on the ASL visual dictionary site to access learning materials for English speaking students as well as for ESL, Spanish, French and German pupils. All they have to do is register themselves and their schools to use the online dictionaries and take the quizzes based on grade and learning levels. Educators can also create quizzes specifically geared toward their classroom teaching needs. There is online software designed to track lesson plans and their outcome and streamline certain resources to address particular educational goals.
ASL Online Resource Development
As with most educational ventures, the ASL online offerings continue to grow and change to meet the needs of many. Their website is regularly updated to reflect their most recent accomplishments and goals.