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1 Week American Sign Language Challenge (sept)

The Duolingo ASL Facebook group will be getting together to do it's first group video chat in about one week.

To brush up, I'll be doing one ASL lesson each day, from the Youtube channel Bill Vicars ASL 1 playlist. (His videos don't have sound.) You're invited to join me. If you prefer to do lessons from a different source than I have, feel free to do so!

To join, just leave a comment with your week's chart and update it daily as shown below. Begin the chart list with the day your started. Set your own goals or borrow mine. After completing your goal for the day, edit your comment and paste this ✔️ next to the accomplished goal.

For absolute beginners: See resources I've posted below my daily goal chart.

My Goal: 1 Lesson per day.

Sunday: Lesson 1, Video for Lesson 1 ✔️
Monday: Lesson2, Video 2 ✔️
Tuesday: Lesson 3, Video 3✔️
Wednesday: Lesson 4, Video 4
Thursday: Lesson 5, Video 5
Friday: Lesson 6, Video 6
Saturday: Lesson 7, Video 7

Study resources:

For absolute beginners: Start by building some early confidence: First 100 Signs
- Introduction to fingerspelling and chart, (Enlarged chart).
- Learning tool
- Practice tool
- Facial expressions: Basic, essential expressions
- Eyebrows for Yes/No
- Eyebrows for Wh Questions
- Eyebrows for Rhetorical questions

The Bill Vicars, corresponds with the website LifePrint, which offers many free ASL resources. Unlike the Youtube channel, the website offers cultural insights and vocabulary lists that link to a video of each sign on the list. However, the Youtube channel has more videos than the website.

One strategy I've used was to copy and paste the LifePrint vocab lists into an Evernote list on my computer. I downloaded the Evernote app (free version) onto my phone. Then, I sync the computer list with the phone app. When I'm riding the bus or waiting for an appointment, I can open the list on my phone and try to remember each of the signs. If I get stuck, I just click the word and a video showing me the sign pops up.

Caution: When learning ASL through online resources, check the credentials of the person who has created the resource. The internet is full of low and bad quality ASL tips, lessons, and music videos created by beginners and even people who are using SE and SEE labeled as ASL. These are completely different languages! One reason I like Life Print and the Bill Vicars Youtube channel is because the creator, Dr. Vicars, has a Ph.D in Deaf Education and is himself part of the Deaf community.

Hand Care Don't tense your hand like the student in the lessons I'm doing. (She is a beginner too.) Stay completely relaxed. If a sign causes your hand to hurt or cranks your wrist at an odd angle, don't do it as crisply as shown in the chart and the student in the video. Relax, relax, relax. Pain and discomfort are bad.

September 17, 2017



I'll try this! I'm actually starting an actual ASL class tomorrow! Can't wait. I'll continue work on my Memrise course for ASL and hopefully finish it, with some assorted homework and Lifeprint.

Monday: First class! It was really exciting to actually work and sign with real people. The teacher is amazing, bubbly but knows how to stay on topic, and she's been an interpreter and teaching for a while now. The class is made up of homeschoolers like me, with a wider range of age than I expected, actually. Some look about my age while some are much younger and their parents are attending also. We went over things I mostly already knew: fingerspelling, numbers, basic signs, facial expressions. It was nice to work on my receptive fingerspelling. Oh, and the teacher surprisingly mentioned how signs vary from place to place. The textbook we're using was printed in California, and we are far from there. It's nice working with someone who knows the Deaf community in my area specifically. Anyway, besides that, I reviewed some words on Memrise.


Oh! That's really exciting! :D

Just a heads up, if your instructor teaches you a sign differently than you have learned online etc. go with your instructor's version. Just like any language, there is variation depending on where you are. They might be aware of regional signs that you aren't.


May I ask? Could you please give us some updates on your ASL class? Like.... What was your first class like? Did the instructor clear up any misunderstandings you may have had? What was the class make-up, id est, older students, college students, some with experience, any complete novices, etc? Your thoughts about ASL grammar.

Also, it would be awesome if you could leave a future posting about your first ASL conversation outside the classroom.

As you might have guessed, Usagiboy7 and I both are really excited you are taking the class - and we don't even know you. :-)


I'm in. Being a total beginner, I think I'll have to review each lesson several times to remember the content. I'll add progress notes after each lesson, then summarize my evaluation of the experience after I've finished the whole week.

P.S.: it's also possible (at least from Safari) to open the whole page within Evernote, but the videos were missing, so the Youtube part of the lesson is still necessary.

Sunday: Lesson 1, Video 1 ✔️

Some words (learn, student, teacher, thank you) stuck in my head immediately, while others (particularly where and when) took a second review (I recognized a similar "word preference" tendency when learning spoken languages). Also, I did not remember the alphabet (which I was supposed to already know) easily.

Monday: Lesson2, Video 2 ✔️
I remembered some of the vocabulary from Video 1, and forgot some. I'll repeat Video 2 before I take Lesson 3 and Video 3. (Brother, Sister were difficult to sign).

Tuesday: Lesson 3, Video 3 ✔️
Guessed three words before studying them.

Wednesday: Lesson 4, Video 4, Additional spelling video ✔️
Finally spelled the student name (Katelyn.... I think).

Thursday: Lesson 5, Video 5 ✔️

Friday: Lesson 6, Video 6 ✔️
It's already time for a review (since Wednesday, actually)

Saturday: Lesson 7, Video 7 ✔️
Played the video in slow motion, so it was easier to follow (Why didn't I think of that sooner!)

Evaluation of my first ASL challenge:

There is probably a good chunk of what I learnt that didn't make is past my working memory, but the same can be said about duolingo lessons; it is better to review an older lesson before starting a new one. The bright side is that I finished the challenge way less intimidated by signing than when I started it, and overall, this was a positive and definitely very pleasant experience.
NEXT: I'll review the lessons I studied from the start, and try to squeeze in some time for ASL within my schedule.



If you have questions or problems, feel free to post them.


Small update here: It's been a long while since I've looked at the Bill Vicars/Lifeprint videos. I just realized that for people who are brand new to ASL, it will be helpful if they start learning fingerspelling. I'll add that resource to the OP. The original lessons I have set in my goal have some fingerspelling involved and it is assumed that students already know it by that point. I think it is just a few words though, like the names of the people in the videos. But, I can't say for sure because I haven't finished watching the first video lesson yet.


Ok, I ended up adding several updates to the OP (Original Post, aka the post up top). I've added about 8 resources for complete beginners. These are much shorter lessons and cover super basic stuff that is still really important to know. I hope that makes this challenge more accessible to people who have not had any experience with ASL before. :)


Good luck with all those taking up the challenge. I wish there were as many resources for Auslan as there are ASL. Oh well, I'll have to keep my eye out!


I am so glad you posted the caution of learning ASL via the internet.

Once saw an ASL interpretation of "Silent Night" which had me laughing hysterically. What they signed for "silent night" was actually "shhhh! darkness"


:D That's hilarious.

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