Written by Erica Younglove, Reference Librarian at Central Library
The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library has a great new database if you’re interested in learning to sign. It’s called Signing Savvy and it’s a dictionary for American Sign Language. To access it, visit the “language” section of the database webpage.
Creating an account is easy. Just type in your library card number and enter a few more fields of personal information and you’re set. Every time after that, whether you’re inside or outside the library, you just sign in with your username and password.
The first thing you’ll notice when you sign in is a prominent search box. Type in any word to learn the sign for it. Signs are demonstrated via short videos. The demonstration videos show the sign and also the finger spelling of the word. You have the ability to slow down the videos as well as enlarge or print them.
In addition to searching, you can browse by letter or through a variety of pre-organized lists such as animals or colors. If possible, an image of the word you are learning will be listed below the video as well as any explanation for the motion. For example, the motion for the state of Arizona was chosen due to its hot and dry climate.
Creating lists is easy and can be done from the results page of any sign. Adding more signs to a list is just as simple. You can also search for shared word lists made by other users.
If you search for a phrase that has more than one possible meaning it will clarify, asking which definition you are looking for. If a word is part of a larger phrase, that phrase will be suggested in these results as well.
Flash card practice is available for any list on the site, as are quizzes. Quiz answers can be multiple choice or fill in the blank.