ASL is possible on Duolingo
Updated Dec 9, 2017
If SignSchool can make an American Sign Language course (which it has!), I am confident the technology exists for Duolingo to offer a variaty Sign Language courses too. (Also scroll further down for more existing, free ASL resources.) What needs to happen first?
- An abundance of qualified applicants* Apply here.
- Huge amount of support and sustained interest by the community
(Upvotes, popular discussions, ppl saying "American Sign Language" whenever someone posts a poll, and @Duolingo tweets, though let's not be rude or annoying. Just display genuine interest in Duolingo having such a course)
Keep in mind that for Duolingo to create an ASL course, it has to spend A LOT of money to develop the interface for course contributors, as well as the interfaces for users on the website and all of the apps. So, there is a huge financial disincentive for Duolingo. It's worth it though.
It is a big world out there, but it is smaller for people who experience language barriers and the Deaf community experiences that in abundance, not only when leaving the house, but when growing up in a house without sign language, leading to language deprivation.
If you know high quality, free online Sign Language classes, please recommend them. I am only familiar with ASL resources. Other SLs needed!
Free, American Sign Language resources outside of Duolingo:
- SignSchool I have used and recommend this for brand new learners and up. It's currently in beta and free (might cost in the future). It's interactive and fun. Credentials
- Gualladet Now also offers free, online ASL lessons!
Credentials: Gualladet is an internationally famous, private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing.
- Sign Language Blitz.
Credentials: This resource was created by ASL Students, certified ASL Interpreters, and at least 1 Deaf person. (The lesson videos I just did today featured this person, named Gerald.) I'm not sure which regional dialect they are using. Gerald is from Philidelphia though. As someone from the Western United states, I recognized 95% of the signs he used in the lesson. The other 5% were intuitive enough that I could easily guess.
LifePrint and its corresponding Youtube channel Bill Vicars
Credentials here. I have used and highly recommend LifePrint. It has some very good resources for brand new users and up. It offers less interactive feedback than SignSchool, so it might be harder to stick with. But, still I highly recommend it if you are committed to learning ASL.
Please do not post ESE resource links here. ESE is not a Sign Language. It is like Morse Code, except through signs, for English only more insidious. It was created with the purpose of exterminating Deaf ethnicity. I will delete such resources as hate speech under direction of the Community Guidelines and Article 5 of the Terms of Service.
*What makes a qualified applicant (according to ParkTheBus and endorsed by Myra in THIS POST. )
*Please note I posted this discussion as a community member. This is not a Duolingo announcement. Yet!
I would absolutely love this, but it still faces the issue of HOW to do it. Yes, Memrise has it, but that's because Memrise is just vocabulary training. Check the word and the gif, and that's it. It's not translating full sentences. If languages like Chinese, Japanese, and Russian are getting severely delayed just due to different alphabets, I can't imagine how much more that's going to hinder trying to get ASL on here.
I wonder if sentence construction can be taught like sentences on the phone app. Multiple moving pictures but you have to select which signs and in what order.
That's a good idea. I was thinking just the glossed English word, but I think that makes too solid of a mental link between a sign and word, and some signs are very abstract concepts that translate differently in context.
although in theory it is possible it would not be able to be executed for quite a long time. :)
It is as possible as the level of priority granted to it. No priority = not possible. But, I believe that with Duolingo's driving humanitarian spirit, the priority would not be zero, thought it might not be in the top spot either. I also think it could take a year or two if we raise enough of a regular, popular buzz for it. But, we would need to go about it in a way that received up votes and not down votes. So, interesting posts with new content that the community appreciates each time. :)
(Note: I'm typing off my phone so this may include errors)
Not only does a demand for a language have to be there but also the abilities to teach it effectively. There are many things that would have to be addressed; how would applicants apply, via video? How would words be shown, via video done by contributors, outside source? How would one write in this language, would there be video clips you had to place in order? How would one be able to evaluate their ability to "speak"? Many new features would have to be developed for this to be offered and many of these features would only be useful towards sign language. And because it would come at a high cost they wouldn't be able to have people translate from sign language because it isn't a written language.
Honestly something like the Kinect might be the best way to go for strongly reinforcing correct signing. Yes, it's used mainly for games at the moment, but that level of motion detection and recognition would be invaluable for teaching ASL. I have no idea if DuoLingo could tap into that or not.
Thank you so much for engaging this topic seriously! (And from your phone no less!) You bring up great points for all of us to consider and brainstorm on. This is the same kind of things Duolingo would have to brain storm and maybe the community will come up with some golden ideas eventually that we can put forward with confidence. :D
Written + Video application seem to make sense. Duolingo would probably need to hire a Sign Language staff mentor at least initially.
The technology could be used to generate sign language courses for more than just ASL. There are a lot of SL's out there after all. Finding a way to make them profitable would be really important. I keep thinking about how this might happen. But, there seems to be a small trend of ASL breaking into the main stream happening right now. From ASL themed restaurants to movies filled with signers. But when I think about how to move amatuer signers in to make something consumable in ASL, I can see several problems this would run into. I'm better at figuring out how things don't work, than how they do work though. So, for the moment I'm stumped. Hopefully someone will have an epiphany. (Maybe you?)
It would certainly make it into the Deaf history books if Duolingo seriously embraced this project.)
Imagine if someday Duolingo has courses teaching sign languages for signers of other sign languages. Browsing through http://libguides.gallaudet.edu/content.php?pid=114804=991920 gives me some ideas:
Plains Indian Sign Language for ASL signers could be like the stuff about possibly adding Cherokee for English speakers at https://www.duolingo.com/comment/12249447 . :)
ASL for Indo-Pakistan Sign Language signers could be like English for Hindi speakers. :)
Gestuno for ASL signers could be like Esperanto for English speakers. :)
I don't know which sign language for ASL signers could be like Klingon for English speakers. Are there any fictional conlangs done in sign instead of speech?
Yes, there are fictional sign languages. The inventor of Dothraki and High Valyrian (David Salo is his name, I think?) also invented a sign language.
It is not a written language, no. However, there are still several computer-friendly options for translation. Like having pictures/video and having the learner translate into writing. Also, giving words and having learner choose from various pictures (words) to complete a sentence, or choosing one of a few videos to match it to the corresponding text.
The nuances of signing ASL might pose a problem, but at the very least, maybe the honor-system aspect of the 'Flashcard Review' feature could be used to evaluate:
1) The learner is given a word/sentence in English to sign in ASL.
2) The learner signs the word or phrase on his/her own, then checks a gif that is supplied with the phrase.
3) The learner chooses if he/she got it right or wrong.
That have to be the way to do. Such a course would be completely dependent on the honor system.
The Memrise course does not depend on an honor system anymore than the Duolingo courses do. It uses multiple choice options. So, I wouldn't worry too much about that.
If the Memrise approach is doing a fine job, why not just work on better Memrise courses? (Maybe also load the content as it's made into a format that can be used with things like Anki, so there wouldn't be total reliance on a corporation to continue offering their product.)
Usagiboy: I noticed that I did not clarify. I was talking about the feature here on Duolingo, in the 'Words' tab at the top of the page. When the strength of word recollection dwindles, you can review them. Being honest as to if you remember them or not is up to you (although being dishonest doesn't benefit the user). Modifying this feature for use in the lessons could work.
In the end, handling it like the speaking feature in current courses would help, where there's an option to disable it in the settings.
I think the best thing about such systems is when they let you say "I got this one right but wasn't completely confident, please ask me again later". Right now I just have to notice which skills I get such words in and remember to practice those and hope it gives me sentences with particular words.
Communication is a beautiful thing. Wouldn't it be nice to expand the number of people who can communicate in this language?
Meanwhile, I found a course that moves at a more practical speed for me. You'll find it along with some other resources in my latest ASL post here I encourage you to check it out and upvote it if you still want to encourage Duolingo to see how valuable an ASL course on a website as organically advertised as Duolingo. (The more options, the more likely someone will find a course that best suits their learning style and needs.) ^_^
¿La gente todavía piensa que ASL no es un idioma? Mi amiga indica con señas el idioma del ASL, así que quiero aprenderlo. Pienso que es una lengua hermosa.
I have given this further thought. Although I have no knowledge of the Spanish language I was interested enough in what you had to say on the subject that I guessed from my limited knowledge that you were writing in Spanish. I keyed in what you wrote and got a translation (if that didn't work I would have tried Portuguese next) in no time I had a translation. I could then key in an English response and have it translated to Spanish. We could communicate without my knowing even a little bit of Spanish. Now if I were culturally Deaf and not fluent in English I would not have this same ease of access I would need a person to translate into ASL and sign it to me because there is no written form of ASL. It seems to me a necessary step is the development of written ASL it then could be translated just like any other language and we could communicate together just the same way I can now with just about any number of other languages and without the need for a third party to interpret.
You never needed a third party to communicate. English is my first language. Usagiboy7 and I are both learning Spanish, so that's how we talk.
Actually, if you wanted to write it in Italian, I would have understood it just as well because I've learned/am learning about 14 different languages through Duolingo.
Yes, it would be wonderful if their was a written ASL and there are some that were created, but not widely in use. I think that it is unlikely that there will be any written form that comes about in our lifetimes.
Language has always fascinated me. I envy those of you that have several languages while I struggle to obtain a second. But this technology and it's community allow me to learn language(s) at my own pace and in my own time. Technology is available to me to read and communicate in languages I don't yet understand. We stand here on this electronic platform from all over this world discussing the language of ASL is it possible for Duo? Could this technology teach more people ASL? How would it be done? Is it financially feasible? I don't know the answers. The questions have been asked. Minds have a way of working to find answers to questions. You maybe right ASL may not become a written language in our lifetime but who knows. My thought is that it would be easier to interface with this technology if it was. Perhaps too more people would recognize it as it's own language clearly different from English.
Su amigo es una persona muy afortunada de tenerte Como amigo. (Español gracias al traductor Google)
This is awesome. I support 100% and would love to contribute.... As an ASL interpreter, I feel like I might be qualified :-) I just have one question... How would one fill out the ASL translation of the incubator application? Perhaps a YouTube link?
@samuelianadams, I recommend just writing about your qualifications and offering to do a skype interview in the future. Meanwhile, here are the two latest ASL threads to reach the forums https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5703152 (in case you want to offer support or advice to anyone using the LifePrint courses. And this one https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5706980 If you would like to add any resources. Thanks for taking the time to comment and apply :D
Wow, I'm surprised I haven't seen this discussion before! I'm actually certified in ASL, so I would love to be a moderator for the course so that I can practice my signing too (it really wouldn't make sense for me to enroll as a student!). That being said, I'm not sure how it can be done online. I would love to help anyone that is willing to learn, as I have taught it to both senior citizens and children who have had speech issues, special needs issues, and/or were English Language Learners.
Thanks for sharing the link! We need more restaurants, movies, (Duolingo courses) like this! :D
I'm not a native signer, but do have many long conversations in ASL and know enough to be able to detect most bloopers (like the ones amusingly described by sweilan1). I'd be happy to help with a Duolingo ASL course.
Cool! Just apply to http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply It could be a long wait for them to get back to you (like, 1-3 years or longer). But sending it in now is important. If by the time they pick up the project, if they decide to, you are no longer able to contribute, you can always decline the invitation. So, hopefully you will feel comfortable applying now. :)
Thanks for suggesting that. I just went and filled out the form. For obvious reasons, I couldn't type a paragraph in ASL then translate it into English (like the form asked me to do), but I hope that what I wrote will be enough for my qualifications (or lack thereof) to be clear.
That's a really good idea for the members in our society who want to communicate with the deaf and learn more about them, and learn another skill/language, too!:)
I really support this idea because my dad is starting to go deaf and in the past two years it's progressed from where he just had to ask me to repeat a few words to the point where I have to basically shout for him to hear anything I say. Neither of us know more than a few letters in ASL, but we both agreed it would be very helpful if we learned it. Unfortunately, we can't find anywhere to learn because we do not have much time on our hands. I like learning languages and I've tried various sites like this (mainly MANGO) but DuoLingo is my favorite and would be easy for my dad to learn to use. If ASL was a course option here, it would be amazing.
Learning ASL online and off can be tricky. There are a lot of people out there who are not well educated when it comes to ASL who are making videos and offering community courses. Bill Vicars, the person who created LifePrint has a Ph.D in Deaf Education and is himself hard of hearing and a member of the Deaf community.
There are of course, regional differences in ASL. I have only encountered very few differences in signs taught by Bill Vicars than those used by my friends here in Oregon and the transplants from Utah. The differences were minimal and didn't hamper our ability to communicate.
While learning, please take care of your hands! If something feels like a strain, relax your hands and arms. Don't be stiff in how you do the sign. For me, I don't do my E's with three fingers when fingerspelling because it hurts me. Instead, I draw up two fingers. It would look like an N if I folded them over my thumb. Experienced ASL users will recognize that I am doing an E right away. And, if they don't, they catch on quickly because I use it consistently.
When it comes to fingerspelling, practice it as often as you can. It took me two years to get decently fast at it. I pretty much practice it wherever I go. I fingerspell the names of items at grocery stores, road signs, book titles, my friends' names, etc. There are so many signs I don't know and fingerspelling helps to close those gaps whenever I am hanging out with my deaf and hard of hearing friends.
Good luck to both of you!
I signed before I spoke English because I was thought to be deaf (I am not). It has given me access to a whole new world and would be very beneficial to many people. ASL would open many doors for people. If there were a course for ASL on Duolingo, it would also draw in new audiences since there is not another amazing and free ASL online learner. I want to become a translator/interpreter for the government or hospitals, as well as teach many languages. Duolingo is key to helping make that a reality, as well as connecting deaf and hearing families around the world.
There is a HUGE need for ASL inclusion in government where I live. It's almost entirely absent. My representative has been in office for years and had no idea how to find an interpreter for his town hall meetings when a signer requested an interpreter for his upcoming town hall meeting. It was sad and shameful to neglect his constituents and deny them participation in such a way for so long. He still hasn't gotten an interpreter, due to not knowing how and not caring to find out. :C
@Usagiboy7 Definitely a quick fix. I could definitely incubate the course if we can get it approved. If there is a press conference or some event that is require of interpreters, in the US we have interpreters wear armbands with some type of symbol so they can be easily identified.
Those things are both really awesome! If Duolingo makes an ASL course, it is probably some years away. But, if qualified signers continue to submit applications to the Incubator, hopefully, the idea will germinate and sprout and grow into a course. :)
If Duolingo creates an ASL course, I hope it's soon. My sisters are in love with this program and are striving to learn everything they can about deaf culture and ASL. But unfortunately, you can't submit ideas to the incubator (that I have discovered) only offer to contribute to one that is in the incubator or one that is already offered.
Having this language is SUCH A GREAT IDEA! I have always wanted to learn ASL and if we moved along with this suggestion, I would be one of the first people to take it. I think this is a language that everyone should know.
I wonder what the "flag" icon and landmark would be...
Also, how would you apply? Through video?
Good question! Maybe just an American flag with ASL written over it? British Sign Language is a very different language or so I've been told. Of course, they also use ASL in Canada and we don't yet have a Canadian flag xD
but there are some differences
One notable difference
you will see is that BSL uses a 2 handed manual alphabet
whereas ASL uses a one handed manual alphabet.
Yes, it is exciting. A whole new array of languages to learn for sign language! Those people I know who use sign language spend a lot of time on their computers, so if Duolingo wonders if it is worth it. --- They would be adding a dedicated base of translators and opening a whole new world of information.
I've read that many blind deaf folks have run into a lot of difficulty, even if schools for the Deaf. I can't even begin to imagine how Duolingo would make a course that could accomodate :(
Yep, in my opinion BSL is easier for folks with any hand difficulties artheritis etc ...makes me wonder if one's ASL accent ( yes sign languages have accents) alter as we get older and less flexible
You're right, BSL is a totally different language. I could communicate at a basic level in BSL for a while, but now I'm back in the US I want to learn ASL and it's totally different. ASL is actually in the same language family as French Sign Language.
BSL and ASL are definitely different. I think there are maybe a few signs here and there that have some similarity, but on the whole they're entirely different. Even the finger spelling is a completely different animal - having learned the BSL alphabet, the ASL one seems really strange and unintuitive to me!
I think the ASL manual alphabet has the advantage of being able to be signed entirely with only one hand, and on the other hand, the BSL manual alphabet seems to have more link between the written letter and the finger spelled letter (or I, at least, have yet to grasp the logic in ASL, it may be there!), and that it can be readily finger spelled onto someone else's hand, so it's suitable for communicating with someone who is both deaf and blind.
As someone who knows ASL, this is funny because the BSL alphabet is the one that seems really unintuitive to me. You can just sign it one handed, why do you need two?! Lol. This perception is well known in the international Deaf community, that one man's alphabet is another man's joke. :D
But the ASL alphabet also resembles the written letter as well, though in different ways. Also, I am very familiar with Pro-Tactile (see protactile.org) due to having DeafBlind friends and in that way it's not hard to pick up ASL using that method (although you first need to be proficient in the language before you can reliably pick up the differences in the letters).
I got curious and really looked at the ASL alphabet for the signs that actually resembled the letters (it's very easy for me to look at the sign for A and say "of course that looks like A/a...well...maybe not, after all").
I counted 13-14/26 that actually resembled the written form (I want to include F because hearing people seem to use that a lot to stand for Fantastic, or maybe that's just a weird little quirk around here....)
I did the same thing with BSL. 11-12/26, in my opinion, that resemble the written form (I'm conflicted on W, to be perfectly honest. It could go either way).
One note is that the BSL sign for D also exists in ASL as D, but in a different context (in order to differentiate between deaf and Deaf; "big D").
When it's not stupid o'clock here, I will do the same - it'll be interesting to see how differently we perceive them!
One of the things I find kind of brilliant about the BSL alphabet is how the vowels are just each finger in turn - makes them so easy to remember. They are the thing I've never forgotten since the very first time I learned it coughcough years ago.
With the disclaimer that my acquaintance with the ASL alphabet is fairly small, the times I've tried to learn it I've found it so very unintuitive; I've yet to find the logic in it at all. I suspect it's there, because I assume whoever first came up with the signs didn't just go "ahh, sod it, I can't be bothered, this random arbitrary hand movement will do...", but man, I cannot see it. 8-o
But yeah. It's very nearly pumpkin o'clock here, so it'll have to wait for the moment ;)
Because Duolingo is an American company, if this course was made, I assume ASL would be first and BSL would follow. This would bring other sign languages like Australian Sign Language and French Sign Language.
I think one of the important things to remember and to make sure others know is that Sign Language isn't an exact replica of English. It is different, with its own grammar and word order, and not every Deaf person who lives in an English speaking country will speak ASL or BSL or Auslan. That makes sign language an even harder course to design.
I'm sure they'd start with ASL - I have to admit, I don't have the facts and figures, but I get the impression ASL is one of the more widely spoken sign languages. Given that plus Duolingo being an American company, it would make complete sense to start with ASL.
I completely agree with all of your second paragraph - I know I, once upon a time, laboured under the impression BSL was some kind of signed English. I know just about enough sign (mostly BSL, a little ASL) to realise the difference and to know how much I don't know! I think most people don't even imagine a sign language would have grammar at all, and a grammar that's about hand movements in space is kind of mind bending when you first think about it, isn't it? :D
It's late and I apologise that I'm being vague - speaking of sign language grammar, where BSL (and I believe ASL?) treats the past as being behind the signer and the future in front, I believe I'm correct in saying there are sign languages out there (I want to say one of them is a Polynesian sign language?) where it's completely the opposite way around - the past is in front, and the future is behind.
Even as just a more-or-less non-signing British person, that's strange to me, there's such a big link in my head with the future being in front of me. It seems like such an intuitive, natural thing, it's beyond intriguing to realise that's an arbitrary, cultural assumption, and far from universal.
... I LOVE LANGUAGE IT IS SO FASCINATING!!!
ASL is American Sign Language, so I would imagine a US flag. I learned a little French sign language when I lived there. There were similarities. EDIT: I just realized that you might have been being funny as opposed to being sincere.
I would suggest not a flag, but a handshape signing the most popular ASL sign - the sign for "I love you".
I would love this. I can finger spell and i know a couple dozen vocabulary words
I find it hilarious that the only word I know (or I can remember) is toilet xD
You should not expect everyone to understand undeclared abbreviations. ASL = American Sign Language
So it's August 2016 memrise now has a couple of asl courses which I do for a break from German on Duo, since the issues of learning multiple conflicting vocabularies doesn't seem as pressing on a nonverbal language. My biggest issue with the memrise courses are choice of signs. I'd like more applicable to emergency situations I don't think fire flood poison evacuate are in any.
I do see it as a big challenge to tie into Duo especially considering that they are apparently concerned with the bandwidth needed to run the apps compared to the website.
But should it come about I will enroll and practice and encourage others to do the same. Right now my thoughts on a written asl is that would require a completely different set of skills and I'd leave that challenge for after a system to handle gestures is solved.
ASL is such a valuable language to learn for so many reasons. 1. The deaf community, of course, which is much larger than some people may realize. It would also be good to know in the expected event that you do go deaf. Having already learned the language while you still had hearing could make a world of difference.
- It can be quite useful in day to day life, such as loud work environments, or communicating in a place where you need to be quiet (or are in danger and need to communicate quietly). Imagine being able to talk to someone as far as you could see them.
- It's valuable to raise your kids on it, from birth up. Using their hands, they learn to communicate faster and perform better in overall learning ability.
I know it's possible, even if duo had to develop a second app.
I would happily donate to a crowdfunded effort to get this going if need be.
I'm still hoping for ASL. Duolingo could be ground breaking in offering this style course for ASL like no one has before. It would absolutely be a challenge on the back end of the site figuring out video clips and organizing new leadership and coordinating with organized systems of the deaf community like Gallaudet University.
Regardless, this post may be getting old, but it's still important and I still have high hopes for Duolingo.
People requesting a course are actually encouraged to find an original post, or most upvoted one, and upvote it. That way, staff can view the votes and interest. So, while old, this discussion post is still relevant. :)
Perhaps not the forum... But maybe so as we all have a strong interest in languages and communication. When I was told by an ASL interpreter that ALS did not have a written language I was shocked. I learned that it is not English in a signed form that it has it's own grammar structure. As I learned more about this language I puzzled about why it does not have it's own written form. I understand better how some great abuses have taken place. I wonder about what great literature, poetry would be written in ASL for the generations to follow. I wonder too what the language would look like. Would it be beautiful and flowing to represent the movement? Would it look like characters to represent ideas? All the languages on DL are spoken and written what would an ASL duo course look like. How many more people would learn ASL if it was as easy as picking up your phone, tablet, laptop in a few minutes of spare time not restricted by class times and availability?
There have been many attempts to invent a form of "signing writing" for ASL. Actually, I do have a sign dictionary somewhere at home with one a form of signed-writing.
One problem with "signed writing" is that there is so much information to be conveyed. Not only would it require the writing to describe the sign used, but also the facial expressions which would be used with the sign.
There is at least one sign that has two completely opposite meanings. Basically, the sign is flicking one's middle-finger with the thumb. With no facial expression, the sign is basically meaningless. But if the sign is made with snarl, it would mean something like "that's disgusting" or that's awful; however, if the sign is made with a smile it means "that's great" or "fantastic".
And then there are classifiers - which is a hand-shape which is used for an object instead of a sign. Classifiers are used A LOT in ASL. For example, once classifier (without any signs) could be used to say the following: "The plane took off, flew for a while, hit some turbulence, and then crashed". All that could be said with only one hand shape.
My point, Duolingo could be used as one tool in a set of tools in the learning of ASL.
Someone else has mentioned an ASL script before. I didn't realize understand why they felt a new script was needed when there was English. But, I'm slowly starting to get a sense for why people have pondered this. There is less "why?" left in me. :)
ASL is a written language :) it's just that the native signers of ASL haven't settled on which script should be the standard for writing it down - see https://aslfont.github.io/Symbol-Font-For-ASL/ways-to-write.html .
It would be best for Duolingo to wait for the community to settle on a script before teaching ASL, the same way it should wait for the Inuktitut community to settle on a script (see http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/with-nine-written-versions-and-two-alphabets-inuit-language-finally-getting-much-needed-makeover ) before teaching Inuktitut.
Meanwhile, about sign languages in general, discussions about adding sign languages in the forums here often focus a lot more on watching videos and using cameras than on typing and reading, even though more than a few sign languages do have written forms (and some have even settled on which script to write with!).
Imagine if discussions here about spoken languages focused a lot more on listening to audio and using microphones than on typing and reading...
Please remember that ASL has historically been an oppressed language. It was not until the 1960s when linguists began identifying ASL as a separate language. Deaf schools taught the oral method and signing was prohibited in the classroom. If a deaf student was caught signing in the classroom, common forms of discipline included the slapping of the student's hands and/or forcing the student to sit on his hands during classroom time.
In the earlier 20th century, the deaf were often laughed at when they signed in public. Often, they would attempt to hide their signs to avoid the stares and jeering.
Even today, some educators discourage the use of American Sign Language. SEE, Cued Speech, SEE II were introduced to replace ASL. Even today, in many "mainstreamed programs" deaf students are segregated from their hearing peers for all classes with the exception of perhaps gym and art. Often, inept interpreters are employed in school settings because certified/licensed interpreters are not found. Even now some schools and colleges will not offer ASL as a foreign language with credit.
Deaf students used to be classified as "deaf and dumb" with the definition of dumb being "mute". Now the word dumb is used as "stupid".
Many Deaf feel as if the Hearing community is trying to control their identities. The term "hearing impaired" is held in contempt.
It was has been a few decades in which ASL has been viewed as acceptable.
This language would be kind of straying away from the traditional "language learning," but I'm all for it! Sign language is totally awesome.
As someone who wants to be an ally to the deaf, I'd love to see sign languages on this site.
Yes! I speak AUSLAN and would like to learn ASL too.
Aside from the issues raised here earlier there’s the issue of dialect. It has a huge dialectical variation along North America. I suppose the DC dialect would be best, as it’s semi-standard given that the University of Gallaudet is there.
Some people with learning disabilities would benefit from learning ASL. The physical act of signing can help tactile learners remember and retrieve facts.
Is Duolingo actually getting American Sign Language? Cause I would be interested
I LOVE ASL! I used to be close to fluent in it, but that has literally been years ago. I've tried to refresh my memory recently, and I have forgotten almost everything. I would love to be able to take this course, if only to refresh my memory!
I would love to learn sign language, and I think duolingo could do well in having a sign language course. I work with people with disabilities, and the language can be comforting to those who are hearing or speech impaired. Being able to be understood by others, and being able to understand others is a difficult task sometimes where I work. Using sign language breaks down the communication barrier for people to live better lives, and to be happier and self assured. I would love to learn more signs to be able to communicate more in depth.
This will help me tremendously as I venture out into the real world. I have hearing loss and I was being taught ASL at my church by a deaf teacher until she moved closer to her home.
I have hearing loss as well. Does it affect how you are able to use duolingo? I cannot test out of sections, and often have problems with the aural questions affecting the time that it takes for me to finish a section and of course my score.
You can opt out of questions that require listening/speaking!!
Go to settings, then turn OFF the Microphone and Speaker (and Sound Effects if you wish). The microphone disables questions requiring speaking, and the speaker disables questions requiring voice-to-text answers.
~ a deafie :)
Has anyone here tried SignSchool? bilingual_ish just told me about it. I've decided to start with the very first Skill for beginners. I just finished the first lesson for beginners. It took me through fingerspelling my name, the alphabet, and a sentence. Then, it took me through how to ask "What is your name". After that, it had a small quiz where it would show me a video of a sign and I would select the interpretation from a set of choices. It would tell me if I was right or not.
I like it so far. I will comment that some of the fingerspelling could do with relaxing the hand position. The J, N, and Q demonstrated would have really strained my hand. Though, I get they are trying to over emphasize the letter for beginners to be able to more easily distinguish it from other letters. I hope they do a small piece on the importance of relaxing the hand and show a few alternative, more relaxed versions of the letters. :)
Anyhow, let me know if you've tried it and what you think. It's in beta right now and free. I dunno how long either of those things will be true. :)
Cassidy, while you're waiting, I recommend checking out SignSchool. It's a free online course that is currently in beta. I've been going through one lesson a day starting at the beginning for a little over a week now and I like it. :)
I think it would be great if ASL was added on Duolingo! I totally would learn it!
Nikki704734, it hasn't come to the table yet. But, with lots of interest and support, upvotes to this, people posting discussions about ASL in the forums, hopefully we can bring it to the table. :)
Please add ASL, Duolingo!! I know the courses would need to be laid out differently because it’s not a written/verbal language, but it’s so important!! And if we can get languages like Klingon and High Valyrian in the Incubator, we can certain get an actual language like ASL :)
I would love an ASL (American Sign Language) course here on Duolingo. If more people knew ASL (or BSL etc), it would really help the Deaf.
If the ProDeaf app can help me learn, including grammar, I have absolute faith that Duolingo could accomplish this and then some! Ive wanted to learn ASL for a very very long time. And now, my best friend is losing her hearing, which is whom showed me the ProDeaf app. The ProDeaf app and shows that have deaf actors/actresses are how I have primarily learned what little I know. Id like to be fluent, and I believe Duolingo is capable of helping me get there.
Yes! It is about time! We really need to increase the speakers of this language for the benefit of all. This is one language for which we cannot wait for those people to learn our language. We must learn theirs. Don't leave this community out in the cold!
I remember actually thinking a few weeks ago or so: "It would be awesome if Duo had ASL." My opinion stays the same :D I would love to learn it, so much!! ☺☺
ASL is the language with the highest number of non-native speakers relative to native speakers in the US. If native is considered correct here.
A sign language can be someone's native language the same way a spoken language can be.
Parents can pass on their language to their babies and toddlers as a native language whether it's spoken or signed, a young child raised by parents talking in two languages can have two native languages (whether they're both spoken, both signed, or one spoken and one signed), etc.
It's not unusual for the hearing child of a deaf couple to grow up a native signer of the parents' language and a native speaker of the hometown's language. :)
The way that ASL is passed on is not through parent to child but from peer to peer. It is one of the only languages where this occurs.
It's both, as is every other language, for those children whose home language is not the predominant one in their community. The proportions may be different, but this is not an either/or case.
Let me toss out a few thoughts.
First of all, would it be possible for Duolingo to go into some sort of partnership with Gaulladet University for the development of the course? Since "Old Gally" is a university whose student body is comprised of deaf students and also has deaf faculty, I think they would be an excellent partner in this sort of project.
I love the idea of an online course for ASL. However, I believe unless there is some major advances in technology, this would be rather difficult. The course on Memrise is more like a sign dictionary than it is an online course. I'm going to sound like a Donnie Downer, but let me ask/present the following.
How to teach grammar? ASL is not simply signs, it truly is a language. Usagiboy7 linked an awesome website to this thread which gives an exceedingly brief overview of ASL grammar. If one would ask an ASL-user questions about grammar, one would most likely get a blank look because he would have no idea the technical explanation on the grammar - he just knows that's how it's done. Here's an example. Ask a deaf person how they make a period at the end of a sentence. He would be confused and simply sign "period". But if you watch him conversing, you will notice he never signs the period. What is actually done is a combination of an eye-blink and a pause. I would guess 98% of ASL-users don't realize this, it's just the way it's done.
One of the problems is the lack of immediate feedback. One could memorize all the signs and not even realize one is not even doing them correctly. Let me give two examples. One day, I was visiting with someone and she signed "Santa Claus". I voiced and asked her why she said "Santa". She said she was trying to sign "thank you". She saw the sign online and had practiced it a few days. So she was really happy to be able to use the sign. I explained and showed her the correct way to sign "thank you". When she tried to sign it back, it came out "Santa". After I adjusted her hand, she understood what she had done incorrectly. Another time someone asked me to teach him how to sign "Nice to meet you". I showed him and he practiced for a few hours. Then an ASL-user walked by and he smiled and signed to her "Nice to f-ck you." She just kindly nodded to him and then shook her pointer finger at me.
Then there is the issue of regional signs. There are many divisions and subdivisions within the Deaf Community and some signs being used within one group and another sign used within another group. It's not unusual in conversation for someone to ask what a sign is.
Finally, I would like to applaud all who are willing to help build a course or to learn ASL. It really does make life easier for those of us who use ASL in our daily lives to find others who are willing to communicate with us.
Working together with Gallaudet is a great idea! :D
It could be like the way Duolingo works with the Peace Corps for the Ukrainian and Swahili courses. :)
Thank you Sweilan! (Though, that last example, maybe too grey enough for this forum, as it isn't moderated by an auto-detector ;)
As you know, I'm not a native signer or very familiar with Deaf culture. So, I couldn't provide answers to many of your questions. A native speaker would be more qualified. And on other questions, I don't yet have ideas for solutions. I want to say that every language has regionalisms and Duolingo has a method for those. But, really, would that same method work here? A drop down menu of alternative answers? I don't know the answer to that yet.
Thank you Sweilan1!
At last count, there were over 37 different region signs for "grey". I know at least a dozen for "birthday".
You know all the signs for grey???
I've seen a few of them but only one is used in my area. Most people only learn the sign for their region.
...Here's an example. Ask a deaf person how they make a period at the end of a sentence. He would be confused and simply sign "period". But if you watch him conversing, you will notice he never signs the period. What is actually done is a combination of an eye-blink and a pause...
...and in English and Spanish, we don't even have a way to pronounce a period at the end of a spoken sentence, so it's even.
"and in English and Spanish, we don't even have a way to pronounce a period at the end of a spoken sentence, so it's even."
Actually, in English there is a pause, in other words, it is "pronounced" with silence.
When I was growing up, I knew some deaf kids who were born deaf and were going to the Alberta School for the Deaf. They were taught sign language there. On a TV show I saw, they were trying to teach some of them how to talk. They can learn to read lips and talk, but the deaf children I knew couldn't talk and only used sign language.
When I was a teenager, I used to know the sign for "pig". Sometimes a deaf boy I was acquainted with made the sign for "pig" and it meant he was calling the person a pig. There was also a sign for "shut up" that boy used to make sometimes which is kind of interesting because he couldn't hear at all.
What a great idea! ASL helped me out a great deal when I worked for a behavioural health facility after college. It was helpful when I worked for an orthodontist as well...I recommend it to anyone who works with people and patients directly as the idea that "Oh well, they can just write it down!" does not apply to young children whose ASL skills may be their primary (or only) means of communicating!
That said, I have to share a cute story...one of our patients was a sleepwalker...he got up in the middle of the night and walked down the hall to the circulation desk, handed me his pillow, pointed at it, signed "Bug." and went back to bed. He had dreamed that he caught a big bug and was giving it to me. It was very sweet. :)
This is now officially my favorite thing I've ever read on Duolingo. :'D
I definitely agree! There are many d/Deaf people who are illiterate, so writing it down won't always work.
I know you wrote this like a year ago but I just wanted to say it was super cool of you to make the distinction between deaf and Deaf. A lot of people are medically deaf but not culturally, and I think that the capitol D in Deaf when you consider yourself part of the community is really important as far as identity goes.
I want to work in pediatrics after college and especially after reading your story I think that ASL would be very helpful
It doesn't seem like prioritizing ASL would make very much sense at all for Duolingo. A big part of their mission has been to make information available to as many people as possible, by translating the content on the Internet into as many languages as possible while also giving people access to as many languages as they can. Most people who know ASL are able to read existing written languages just fine. They're not cut off from the world's information. It also wouldn't make very much sense to have a Duolingo immersion section trying to get people to translate things to/from ASL.
That's before you even touch on the more technical issues. Just because Memrise can pair words/phrases in ASL with an English equivalent does not AT ALL mean that it's obvious that there's any kind of easy way to do something comparable within Duolingo's system. Right now, there's presumably no support in the system for sending out videos on the website or in the apps. Video takes a lot more bandwidth than audio as well. Meanwhile, they don't even like having to do separate recordings of every phrase/sentence taught in Duolingo when they only have to worry about audio. Setting up the circumstances to record consistent/quality video for every word/phrase would be a whole new level of complicated. And an equivalent to the speaking exercises? Yikes. That'd be some really complicated work on analyzing motion in video. (Again, for a language that has virtually zero chance of paying the company anything back, because it's extremely difficult to imagine that a company is going to come to Duolingo any time soon asking them to load ASL content into immersion for paid translation. They're not very worried about making a profit, but they do need to be able to pay for the servers and their staff!)
If you want to work on making wonderful ASL learning resources, there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING preventing you from doing so. Gather a team and get to work. I'd commend the effort, because there's no doubt that adding more high quality learning resources to the world is a good thing to do. It just doesn't make any sense at all to me to say that Duolingo should put a high priority on something like this. It's not a very good fit with what they're already doing right now, and it'd have the potential to pull a lot of resources away from other things.
"Most people who know ASL are able to read existing written languages just fine. They're not cut off from the world's information"
Either this is said as a joke or out of pure ignorance.
The average deaf high-school graduate can only read at the fourth-grade level. And during emergencies, most of deaf people can only get information via another deaf person or an interpreter. Often during local emergencies, there is zero captioning for the deaf. In my city during one emergency when an evacuation order was given to an area of a city, no captioning was made available. Telephone calls were made to the TV stations, and the personnel at the station would simply hang up the phone. The stations did not respond to the Deaf community until State government officials intervened.
"Most people who know ASL are able to read existing written languages just fine."
I don't agree with this. Some are, some aren't. Learning English may or may not happen, and can happen at different levels. I know Deaf people who read and understand English as well as I do, and others who really struggle with it. I know some who can follow simple pieces of information presented in English, but if the grammar gets complicated, things get rough for them. (Which I can also say about lots of hearing people who know some ASL but aren't fluent.)
And of course, sometimes, as happens with any of us, a person might be presented with information they don't understand and not give any indication that they don't understand it. No one likes to be thought of as stupid, so we all have our defense mechanisms. I've had this happen way too many times: I'm signing for a friend of mine while he tries to interact with a sales person, and we get to a concept that needs a little expansion. So while I'm elaborating, the hearing sales person gets impatient and decides to write a note and cut me off. Which my friend doesn't understand, but nods and smiles, and the hearie is grotesquely satisfied. And then we go sit in the car and I explain it without interruption.
It's easy to think that deaf people probably all know their area's spoken language in written form because they're surrounded by it (I'm not saying that's where you're basing your opinions, but I think some people do this) but we have to remember that many deaf people get almost none of the peripheral learning that hearing people do - we take in so much that we don't even realize, from conversations happening around us to radio/tv on in the background while we're focusing on (looking at) something else, etc. They have to actively work at learning a much higher proportion of the knowledge they want. And most of us who've worked at learning a language know: some of the most valuable parts of learning a language don't happen that way - there are aspects of it that just come to us over time, after hearing things again and again.
I think that there's probably also a geographic element. In my area there's a strong Deaf* community - there are places you can go where it's all ASL (American Sign Language) all the time. So there's an opportunity to live largely within a culture associated with that language. And that could be a factor too.
*Someone complained about not spelling out "American Sign Language", so I'm guessing I should clarify this too. Deaf with a capital D refers to being a part of a cultural minority that uses ASL~~ and identifies as part of this group. With a lowercase d, deaf is about not being able to hear. A person can be HH (hard of hearing) or fully deaf and choose to identify as Deaf or not.
~~Just using ASL as an example, since I'm in the US. Of course you have Deaf culture in other countries, using other signed languages, as well. (I had to use tildes instead of asterisks because the characters were getting interpreted as formatting code.)
Sure Usagiboy7 - thanks for your comment.
Another important thing to know about ASL, and this can be a little loaded so I'm sorry if I stir anything up here, is about how having a solid first language supports the acquisition of a second language. If young deaf kids are exposed to ASL (again, I'm in the US so I'll keep using ASL as an example, but it could be LSF/LSE/BSL etc) and given a chance to learn it, they generally take to it really naturally. A spoken language is not as good a fit - that's something that they end up having to study. And from what I've read and heard from people is that if they didn't get a solid foundation in ASL growing up, English can be extra elusive.
So it's extra important to get deaf kids early exposure to other Deaf people and the signed language of their community.
I've drifted farther and farther from your topic - hopefully the message is worth the crime:/
Unless I missed something (if I have please correct me), your post is still on topic. I think it supports the need for a free, easily accessible English for ASL/ ASL for English. :)
Completely agree with this, Duolingo should focus instead of diverting all their energy. Almost everybody wants new features here and improved learning abilities, broadening the scope of duolingo does not help. They seem to struggling already with the amount of work....
I am not sure if there is a lot of overlap between ASL and other languages, I am not an expert, but only a small part of duolingo strength can be used for this.
Yes, hopefully somebody steps up to get this going, but I do not think it will be duolingo staff.
I think the Klingon, High Valyrian, and Esperanto courses disprove your point.
This is Amethyst_Bunny on my brother's account. I would love to have an ASL course!
Surely if they have Klingon as a course, they should make a ASL course.
I REEEAALLY want to see this added to the Incubator. It would be AMAZING.
I've found DuoLingo so helpful for Spanish (of which I am a completely new learner) and am very excited to see other people taking an interest in developing an ASL course. Not currently proficient enough to help out with he project, but very eager to start brushing up. I feel like there's been a schism between my deaf friends and I since I went away to college and didn't use ASL during that time. In addition, I've found ASL very helpful in my work with special needs children, young learners eager to soak up new languages, and with my own child as well. Can't wait! Can't wait! :D
Need this course. I love LifePrint, but it feels outdated and a little messy and it doesn't always work well on my computer. :/
I sure hope Duolingo hosts this course. I don't have room in my school schedule to learn it in class. I think this would really help with all business in my life. I want to be an Interpreter and learning several languages is my goal.
I would love to learn ASL, it seems like a fun language to learn, and a really useful one too! I know friends who are learning it and I learned it, I could teach other people.
I'm planning to learn ASL in the next 2 or 3 years, so that would be SUPER COOL!
This should definitely be a course. There are many deaf students at my school I wish I could talk to.
Great idea! I would love to see all of the language courses more Deaf/hard of hearing friendly. I am hard of hearing and cannot test out of sections and have a hard time hearing even with headphone at 100% the aural questions. Many sound distorted or off to me, which affects the time it takes me to take a section and my scores.
I am currently using Duolingo as well as other resources to learn Spanish and absolutely love it. I am also trying to learn American Sign Language and feel that a Duolingo program could absolutely help me do so. I would be willing to contribute money towards funding its development if there was a way to do so.
Bump this thread. Still wish ASL was offered no matter how many obstacles or regional differences there are, if I knew even the first 4 or 5 lessons via Duolingo I could make someones day. Duolingo is a platform that makes language so much more available due to popularity of the app. I know there are some resources free online, but Duolingo encourages so many more people to learn.
It would be amazing if Duolingo offered ASL. Not only would it open up new worlds for accessibility and communication, I've found that even knowing a few signs helps me remember vocabulary in other languages.
http://www.signschool.com has an interactive course in beta right now. I've started from the very beginning to get a feel for it and so far I'm impressed. I'm running an ASL challenge every month and that's the resource I'm currently using. You can check out the challenge by clicking here. :)
I can't believe I never read about this before! OMG I wish I could sign up, but I'm not fluent enough. But yes, this should be a thing!
Sign It ASL (https://www.signitasl.com) is a new one. It is not free, but it isn't very expensive either. It is taught primarily by very well-known Deaf/CODA adults and it uses a lot of humor which keeps it light-hearted and fun. There are several chapters available for free.
I looked at the preview and the video looked very impressive!!
But I did think it looked rather pricey. Just my opinion, but I thought it looked like it would be good for a supplemental resource if one were enrolled in non-internet class.
Just noticed you mentioned several chapters which are free. I will have to go back and check them out.
YES PLEASE. I've always wanted to learn this, but I've been having a hard time learning it alone because the method is so different, and I'm not a visual person.
I would love an ASL course on Duolingo! I want to learn ASL, but sometimes lack motivation or I just forget to practice. Duolingo would make it more viable for me to learn ASL on a consistent basis
Sign School?? well forget duolingo, I found what i"m looking for, thank you !
@marissa, if you're looking for free, online ASL lessons, there is a list of several in the main post up top. You just need to scroll down on it. I've also just updated it to add a link to Gualladet's free lessons. ^_^
fingers as strong as spoken words
in fun and laughing
a shared life
in love and happiness
I don't know how you do it but every post amazes me! Someone should collect all your posts into a poetry book! It would be lovely! :D
Have some lingots!
Life is my job
:Enjoying it whilst alive
: A Travelling Soul
:Amidst people and activity
:Computer with, whilst travelling
Or in the corner, as life whizzes by
i don't know that i would be interested in learning this, but it would definitely be a cool feature to have on the site.
This course sounds wicked cool. If you all are still trying to figure out how to check accuracy for signs, Leap Motion is a hand detection device mainly used in the gaming realm but I think it might be applicable here.
So would this device be able to detect changes of facial expressions? Would it able to determine exactly the sign is being made in relationship to the rest of the body? Would it be able to determine the meaning to classifiers?
It was not designed to monitor the facial expressions (although I'm sure if someone tried they could make a plugin to do just that). It can track movement thought it's calibrated bounds, so theoretically you could track the sign's location. Could you please rephrase that third question?
(I should note I have not personally worked with Leap Motion. )
It sounds as if this device wouldn't work very well with ASL. Don't know how to rephrase the third question. Too many variables involved.
Yay!!!I love asl and I can spell but I need some work on my signs.I love signing songs!
HECK YEAH, ASL SHOULD TOTALLY BE ON DUOLINGO. I DON'T EXACTLY UNDERSTAND HOW IT'LL WORK, BUT IF IT SOMEHOW DOES, THAT'D BE FANTASTIC. I FEEL LIKE EVERYONE SHOULD'VE LEARNED ASL WHEN THEY WERE YOUNGER AND ME NOT KNOWING ASL EVEN NOW IS SUPER SAD. HOPE THIS HAPPENS SOMEHOW!!!
I would love for there to be an asl course here. I took a class a few years ago and I'm very rusty and wish I could start again.
I've always wanted to learn ASL! I can spell the alphabet (really, really slowly) - but that's about it.
@ShanzaNahsyt, keep practicing! I practice fingerspelling things I see in the aisle while I'm walking through stores and on walks, so groceries, book titles, street signs etc.
Also, pick one word and start practicing it daily. Once you get very fast, add another word. I have three words that I can fingerspell super fast: [profanity], interim, and hiking. I now find myself fingerspelling them without realizing it. And, the more words I add, the swifter I become at spelling words outside of those. My brain is getting used to moving between letter combinations, rather than just thinking of words as one letter at a time.
Good luck! :)
You could also try different letter combinations. For example ST, AT, BY, NT, DO.
Then add another letter to a combination or simply combine combinations. For example STAT, DONT.
When doing this exercise, it's simply building muscle memory and it will help you with your receptive skills.
(I'm just reading through this now)
Also, I finger spell everything I say. It has two benefits, I get faster at fingerspelling, and it helps me slow down talking. I tend to say the wrong thing impulsively, so it really helps to have to do something else and I don't say silly things xD
Some people have made a very good point since I've posted this. One of the challenges is to confirm whether or not a person is responding to those pictures and videos by reproducing the signs correctly.
Why not just use facial recognition software to confirm it? Only, modify it to recognize the body/hands? This way expressive portions of ASL would be able to be analyzed by AI and accepted as part of the learning process.
I agree this would be an awesome feature, however from a developmental standpoint it would be a large task for the DL dev team because they would need to make changes and accommodations to their learning platform. Since it may require additional dev resources, they may have to make it a paid feature.
i definitely think that dueling should start and all cause it would be so much fun
You know, that would be a GREAT idea, princesssh671119! I didn't think about that. I think that it would be good competition and would make people strive to do better on their lessons (not that they aren't already). :)
This is a great idea for a cours and just needs to happen! it should be taut as a requierd langage in schools rather than french or spanish and i realy hope this is created.
More people will join Duolingo if they add asl but the might be working on it right now idk