___ I am able to define
the term ASL ___ I know the
handshapes used in ASL.
___ I am able to
my name in ASL
___ I am able to count to five
in ASL (numbers) ___ I am able to briefly
history of ASL ___ I am able to briefly
state the gist of
Deaf Culture ___ I have a basic
idea of the meaning of the difference between ASL and
Signed English ___ I have a basic
idea of the meaning of
(contact signing) ___ I am able to recognize and
sign the vocabulary for this lesson (see below) ___ I am able to recognize
and sign the practice
for this lesson (see below)
___ I have done a practice
___ I have checked with my instructor regarding how and where to
take any graded quizzes.
Dear ASL Heroes, Allow me to share with you this bit of information from an
article in Perspectives in Education and Deafness:
"There are more than 500,000 words in the English language, but
a person who masters only 250 words will recognize more than
two-thirds of all words shown in television captions—provided
the 250 words are those that are most frequently used. Equally
dramatic, a beginning reader could be taught just 10 words—the,
you, to, a, I, and, of, in, it, that—and then recognize more
than one out of every five words. Mastery of the top 79 words
means being able to read half of all words captioned."
(Source: Perspectives in Education and Deafness, Volume 16,
Number 1, September/October 1997)
What if we were to apply that same concept (word frequency) to learning sign
The main series of lessons in the ASL University curriculum are
based on accelerated language acquisition techniques that make
use of "word frequency" research and focus on the most common concepts and words used in everyday communication.
I took the most frequently used concepts and translated them
into their ASL equivalents and embedded them into the lessons
starting with the highest frequency of use
Thus the lessons are designed to help a student reach
communicative competence very quickly-- based on science
combined with over two decades of real world teaching experience.
The order in which content is introduced is a balance between
"functions" (what you want to do or accomplish) and "language frequency"
(what you most often say to others to accomplish those
functions). Thus while
some of the lessons may
seem to be random, in actuality each vocabulary concept was
specifically selected to expedite (speed up) the rate at
which you can actually use the language for everyday
-- Dr. Bill
Note: these are not English words, they are labels for sign concepts--many of which have several different meanings--depending on context and
Raise your eyebrows at the end of questions that can be answered with a
yes or no.
Lower your eyebrows at the end of questions that should be answered with
more than a yes or no.
Questions that need to be answered with more than a yes or no are
typically referred to as "WH"-questions because they usually involve
signs such as, "who, what, when, where, why," and so forth.
For example, in a sentence such as: "Do you
understand him/her?" (YOU UNDERSTAND
HE/SHE, YOU?) -- the eyebrows are raised since it is a
question that can be answered with a "yes" or a "no." Think of the
second you as actually being, "(do)-YOU?"
Another "yes/no"-question example: "Do you like to meet Deaf people?"
LIKE MEET DEAF?" (Which could also be signed "YOU LIKE MEET
DEAF (do)-YOU?") The "(do)-YOU" sign is simply a combination
of eyebrows raised while pointing at the person with whom you are
(Note: I'll be adding more and more videos to this website as time goes on.
That's me (Dr. Bill) telling the story below. The stories are simply made up for