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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.


Could I add to this? If the instructor teaches a sign differently from the one you are using, ask him about it. It would give him the opportunity to explain the two and whether they are both used in your area.

Also, you could have been using a sign incorrectly. I was visiting an ASL class and the instructor had just taught the possessives my, your, his, their. Within 5 seconds, the student I was sitting next to used the sign as an objective case pronoun. The sentence she wanted to sign was "I see her". In this case, the sign for "her" would simply be pointing to the person or if the person is not there one points off to the side. The possessive would be with your palm pointing.

Her - possessive:

Her - objective case.

EDIT: During a break in the ASL class I was visiting, I let the instructor know there was a bit of confusion. So after the break, the instructor immediately explained the differences between the two.

On a side note, the sign for the possessive "her" is also used for "him" and "its". And the pointing finger sign can mean "he", "she", "it", "him", and "her".


This is great! Thanks! :)


Thanks for the tip. :D


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'll do my best to report! :P It's a class for students near my grade, so I doubt there'll be much age variation.


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.


Thank you so much. I already have a couple of questions if it's ok:

  • What (if any) is the grammatical rule behind the sentence structure in ASL?

  • Is signing strictly dependent on hand dominance, arbitrary, or standard (right/left hand takes priority in moving, while the other remains still as reference point)? I am asking because some instructions refer to hand dominance and others don't.


There really aren't any hard rules for sentence syntax; however, one often sees an object-subject-verb syntax. For example - if one wanted to tell someone that he likes a certain car - he would point to the car and I sign "I like". One could even point to the car and sign "like I". On paper, it may sound complicated, but it really isn't. Just keep in mind, ASL is a conceptual language.

I believe the reason they say "hand dominance" is because some people are left-handed and others are right-handed. Since I am right-handed, I finger spell with my right hand - doing so with my left hand would feel awkward.

And don't worry about understanding if someone is left or right handed. You won't even notice while they are signing!


Where I am, ASL sentence structure appears to be different from English. I have gotten remarks that mine is very English as opposed to ASL. One example is to start with Topic, then Comment. I regularly forget to do this. There are other things too, but, I cannot yet name them.


Let me quote a friend who is a CODA and a very popular interpreter. "Just throw away all those text books and just sign." The important thing is just get comfortable. After a while one finds oneself using more "Deaf like" sentence structures.


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.


Good videos. I've just done the first lesson. Amazing how simple it is! I wanted to learn sign language but I didn't know how to start and which resources use. Thanks for making me began with that!

I'm interested in that since I watched "La famille Belier" and then "Koe no Katachi"

I wasn't sure to learn ASL or my native's sign language. But I already know some word from 4 different sign languages...(Pol, Eng, Fre, Jap) So I started. ASL is really good to start but I wonder if there are good resources to compare different sign languages. Because I would like to communicate with other sign languages speakers. Especially Polish sign language but others so far.

I don't have a specified goal but it's how it goes:

1 lesson ✔️

2 lesson ✔️

3 lesson ✔️

4 lesson ✔️

5 lesson ✔️

6 lesson ✔️

7 lesson


I know of this site that teaches JSL (手話) as I was planning on taking it after or with ASL.


Thanks. After ASL I should first do Polish sign language then Japanese ;) But I'll take a look and learn some like syllabary.


Is this the continuation of last week's challenge or a new one for ASL folks?

I'm thinking about learning some ASL basics after the first of the year, maybe.


Separate challenges. The Bunny XP challenge is extending into Week2 for those who want to keep going. However, it will stay in the same discussion. Folks are only allowed to post 1 XP competition discussion per calendar month. Fortunately, this ASL challenge is not an XP competition. And while the bunny challenge isn't technically a "competition" either, it is XP based and I try to keep to the spirit of the limitation because I remember the situation before it was put into place. (Hint: the forums were a mess of 3-10 mostly failing XP competition posts, every day.)


Ok, I'll stay on for week 2 on the original challenge. It has helped me to push myself(check out my level 10 Hebrew flag!). Good luck with this one.


Oi! I did not think this out properly haha. I upped my XP goal in the bunny challenge, and added an hour of ASL on top of it. ^_^' Good luck with yours too!


I have a question about the Bunny XP challenge: Are we allowed to change our goal? Sorry if this isn't allowed.


You can absolutely change your goal. The challenge is meant so that you set the goals that will motivate you. If you need to adjust them to better suit that, by all means feel welcome to. :)


thanks a lot, i will try it if i have time, didn't practice for a long time, and here's a lingot :D


How is everyone doing with the ASL challenge so far?

I just completed the goal for my second day. And it looks like I am too advanced for where I'm at. I'm not quite sure what signs I'm missing along the way through the ASL1 video group. So, I'm updating my goal. I plan to review the vocabulary lists and their corresponding lesson concepts for 3 lessons each day. When I find a sign I don't recognize, I will put it on a list to practice several times a day.


It's a bit less terrifying than I thought, and I'm starting to understand what sweilan1 meant about the "Just throw away all those text books and just sign." I still need a lot of review though. Did you notice resemblance between the sentence structure of ASL and Japanese ?


Well, by jumping in, you're making more progress than if you had not done anything. So, I'm glad that you've taken that step. And, I'm also glad to have someone along to be practicing ASL as well. ^_^ Think you'll join the fb group by chance? You're welcome to make secondary profile just for the group so you aren't sharing your private info.

Did you notice resemblance between the sentence structure of ASL and Japanese ?

Wow, I hadn't thought of that before. There seemed to be some similarity in syntax from the ASL video I reviewed today. For instance, "Your dad, name what?" I think it would be like that in Japanese. Let me try it: お父さんの名前はなんですか。Otousan no namae wa nan desu ka. Your dad's name, what is it?

O.O They do look like they share a pattern for that sentence.

I'm not surprised I didn't notice before though. My ASL is "very English". I wonder, if I started trying to switch my brain into Japanese mode when doing ASL if that would help or just further scramble my brains. lol. I'll start paying attention to comparing the syntax with the ASL videos I'm watching now. Thanks for that!


I do want to join an ASL group, and I prepared the profile, but I'm currently intimidated by how little I know about the language, and I still don't know how the sign chat is supposed to work (I probably would not prefer to join a video chat). If suitable tools (and enough knowledge on my part) would be viable, I may knock on the group's doors in the future.

I wonder, if I started trying to switch my brain into Japanese mode when doing ASL if that would help or just further scramble my brains

The reason I thought of the resemblance was that I was looking for the pattern, which means I thought of ASL as an independent language from the start. I'm not sure if it fits Japanese 100%, and I'm actually testing the similarity with Chinese that is originally a conceptual language too but different from Japanese in grammar.


Please do not feel intimidated! I believe anyone and everyone is invited and would be welcomed.

I'm hoping the group will include novices as well as veteran signers - a group of people with an appreciation of ASL and Deaf culture. Where new learners could freely ask questions and veteran signers could try to help. Where we could discuss Deaf culture and history, too. Personally, I love hearing stories of people's first learning ASL and discovering a community which they have never been aware of. To seeing the communication barriers between the Deaf community and the hearing world come tumbling down.

Don't worry about not knowing a lot of signs. I believe the group's goal is help each other with better communication. If you ever go to a Deaf social, you will be amazed at how helpful and accommodating everyone is. I am hoping our group is a reflection of that.

Also, I love that you are seeing similarities between ASL and other languages. I believe it is showing that you are gaining an understanding of ASL grammar.


If fluent signers want to help beginners and those beginners want to be helped by them, of course, that would be great for the beginners like me. But, this group does not come with that obligation.

Mainly, it is a place for people to hang out and engage in voice off discussions. If fluent signers are uninterested in answering questions, I want them to feel welcome to decline to be an educator whenever they don't want to be one.

I am not deaf and so maybe this situation does not apply. But, I am a social minority in a different ways and often people who are new to being allies expect me to always have the time, energy, and desire to be their free educator. Sometimes, I just want to hang out with other people from my culture. Other times, I might want to educate. I want to make sure the group is available for both scenarios among signers. :)


There are a couple of ways to participate. You can lurk by reading what people post in the group. There has been some cool stuff posted. If you want, you can post stuff. And there is also the option of joining a video chat. In those, it is "voice off" but you can communicate by typing and/or signing.

I actually started the group in 2015, I think. But, I chickened out before any video chats were organized. That's why I'm calling this a "re-launch". I'm finally willing to participate in a video chat. Though, I'll be doing a lot of typing because I'm a beginner. Joining the group doesn't obligate you to participate in any way. I recommend joining even just to lurk. But, the most important thing is going at your own pace. So, if you aren't comfortable joining, you certainly don't have to. :)


I will definitely check this out! I don't have time this week to catch up and keep on going with this, but I've been wanting to study ASL seriously for a while, and this looks like a great resource. Maybe in a week, when things starts to slow down for me, I'll do this. Are the Lifeprint lessons all free, or will you have to pay a few lessons in?


Hi truemi, at one point, LifePrint charged $20 for access to videos for lessons 15-30. The written portion was available for free. However, I think they have posted those 15-30 videos for free on their official Youtube.. LifePrint's ASL University was fee-based last I checked as well. However, there are around 65 free lesson videos on the Bill Vicars youtube channel for ASL1-4. So, it covers a ton of material for free.


Wow, that's great! Thank you so much for the information! I will definitely be using this in the near future,


Oh my goodness! I can't believe I forgot about this challenge. I bit off more than I could chew with what I was trying to accomplish in Japanese and all of my efforts went into accomplishing it.

Since I accomplished it, and it is now a new month, I'm going to create an ASL challenge for this month. I hope y'all will tune in for that one and celebrate what you were able to accomplish last month, and not discouraged if you didn't meet your goal. Each challenge is a chance to start over fresh. :)


I'm sad. I can't find it because the forums are acting funky. So, at the moment, if you're over there and don't see any green check marks, it's because the forums won't load beyond the first page. If anyone has the link, I'd love to have it.


Arachnje, if you have a real email address connected to your Duolingo account, you should check it. I am trying multiple avenues of helping someone troubleshoot an account issue and you might be able to assist me. Thanks!

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