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Thursday, May 19th
Lingvano is based in Austria and has provided instruction in both American Sign Language (ASL) and Austrian Sign Language (OEGS) since 2018. You may even spot the German-language influence in the ASL when you watch the mouth of the signer pronounce "welcome" as "velcome" ! All of the online teachers used in this program are Deaf, and they work hard to break down language barriers through easy-to-use lessons for real-life situations.
Create a free account to see
Lingvano is pretty mysterious about what they have to offer until you create a (free) account. When you provide the company with a name and email address (which doesn't have to be your actual contact info, if you'd prefer to hold off on that), you'll be taken to a dashboard that walks you through some basic ASL exercises: presenting easy signs like "hello" and "welcome" , then having you match the signs with the words below. Lingvano has an interesting mirroring tool also, where your camera is used to let you see how closely you're imitating the signer. You can rest assured that your video images aren't being sent anywhere. You'll also see a little turtle icon that, theoretically, slows the demo video down, but we didn't notice much difference.
The structure of sign language lessons on Lingvano follows an overall pattern of Discover, Dialog, and Review, with little checkpoints for comprehension. There are a total of five modules offered here, with anywhere from 12-15 lessons in each one. You can try out the first lesson in each module: a good idea if you've already got some basic knowledge of ASL and want to know if Lingvano will provide enough challenge.
For paid subscribers, Lingvano has tools like a Vocabulary Trainer (exercises for fingerspelling, numbers, and so on), a sign dictionary, plus review exercises after each lesson and at several points through each module.
Helps you notice the differences between ASL and English
We really appreciate how Lingvano addresses topics like Deaf culture and grammar, recognizing (and rightly so) that ASL is a language in its own right and doesn't always directly map to English syntax. As you work your way through the signs taught here, you can see the English translation below. That's helpful for those of us who struggle to use sign language's unique grammar and not apply our English language rules over the top of ASL.
3 ways to subscribe
There are three payment structures offered here. If you think you'll be using Lingvano for a long time - maybe you like to go through lessons very deliberately or you don't plan on studying a lot all at once - you can pay the equivalent of $9.99/month when paying for a year in advance (just under $120). If you'd like to pay for a three-month plan, it works out to $15.99/month, or you can always choose the month-to-month plan for $17.99. We're not entirely sure how long Lingvano's money-back guarantee is. In their Terms and Conditions, it specifies a 14-day limit, but at the very end of the first (free) lesson it's called a 20 Days Money-Back Guarantee.
Thousands of five-star reviews
We were pleasantly surprised to see how much positive feedback Lingvano's sign language lessons have received from subscribers - over 7000 five-star reviews and counting. In fact, the only complaint anyone seems to have about this platform is the cost: everyone loves what they see in the free version, and then they get mad when they hit the paywall and want to keep going. Only you can determine if the price is right, but we're glad that the word on the street from paid members is that Lingvano is a fantastic way to learn sign language - no matter if you use it on your computer or via smartphone app.
Great program - but pricey
Lingvano gets high marks for being engaging and easy to follow. Students feel like this app helps them make genuine progress in their ASL fluency. But, price can be a big drawback: these sign language lessons have some of the highest month-to-month pricing we've seen. It would be wise to try all of Lingvano's free content and then realistically evaluate how committed you are to studying ASL, to determine if your investment in these lessons will be worth it. If so, be ready to add yourself to the thousands of satisfied students who love Lingvano.
Whether you're interested in connecting with people in the Deaf community, trying to communicate with a non-verbal child, or facing hearing loss yourself, you're in good company. It's estimated that over 500,000 people in the US and Canada use American Sign Language (ASL).
If you're hoping to learn to sign, it's important to choose lessons that teach not just the signs themselves but also about Deaf culture and the differences between ASL and English. (It surprises many people when they learn that they don't correspond in a 1:1 fashion. In fact, ASL often uses a completely different word order, and facial expressions are a critical component of using ASL fluently.
Sign language lessons that include different instructors can help you see that individuals often have their own unique way of signing - just like someone from the South has a spoken accent that's very distinct from a New Yorker. Going back to the question of where to learn ASL, it might be possible to find classes nearby at a community college or even a library. Will they fit your schedule? Your budget?
Maybe, maybe not. Fortunately, there are many providers of sign language lessons online that let you study at your own pace, any time of day or night. (And hey, unlike other language lessons, you don't have to worry about disturbing people as you practice ASL in a quiet public place!)
What should you look for as you choose where to take sign language lessons through the internet? Here are some suggestions that can help you narrow down the options:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Sign Language lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you open new doors of communication as you learn to sign fluently in ASL right away!
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