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The ASL App Review

Saturday, January 28th

2023 Sign Language Lesson Reviews

The ASL App Review 2.5 Star Rating

The ASL App

2.5 Star Rating
  • Created by a deaf-owned and operated business
  • Android or iOs app
  • Free and paid content
  • Can buy content bundles or pay a one-time fee of $9.99 for everything

The ASL App is the creation of Ink & Salt LLC, a deaf-owned and operated company that specializes in digital publishing and creative productions. The company's goal is to "create connections between the non-signing community and the signing community" , and the app uses a dozen signers from a wide variety of backgrounds to give you exposure to many different ASL users as you learn. In 2021, The ASL App received a Webby Awards nomination and was ranked among the top 10% in the People's Choice category.

Easy to use on the fly

For anyone that wants to learn sign language on the go, The ASL App could be a solid fit. It's even designed to be used one-handed, so that you can hold your phone in one hand and sign with the other if you're trying to communicate with a deaf person. As you use the app, you can save any signs that you want to remember to practice (or any favorites), and the video can be paused or rewound if you need extra time or to see something a second time.

Free and paid content

The ASL App has a fair amount of free content you can access by downloading it to your mobile phone: just visit the app store for your specific device. You'll get basics like Universal Gestures, Handshape Exercises, Colors, and several other topics. You can also pay for $0.99 downloads of content on topics like Family Signs, or with a one-time fee of $9.99 you'll get the entire library.

Very mixed feedback from app users

Unfortunately, users seem to have a love-hate relationship with The ASL App. On the Google Play Store alone, the five-star raves were dead even with the one-star rants and just a handful of 2- to 4-star ratings in the middle. Fans of the app say that it's fun and easy to use, and that it provides a great value. On the other hand, negative reviews frequently mention glitches in both the free and paid content, too many downloads, and less-than-intuitive controls.

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Even more questions

Even more troublesome were the handful of comments we found from users claiming to have advanced knowledge of ASL (like interpreters and so on) that said many of the signs featured on The ASL App were off or flat-out incorrect. In any language, that's no bueno. And, as far as we can tell, there's no way to get your money back if you've paid for the downloadable content - short of filing a complaint with the Apple App Store or Google Play or a dispute with your credit card company (but you shouldn't hold your breath on either of those).

Not much support

We're also not sure how much support you'll get with your app on either platform. On The ASL App's social media channels, it seems like the company earned their Webby Award and then promptly disappeared: there are no more posts on their Facebook account, the site link to their YouTube page is broken, and their Instagram and Twitter feeds were only slightly more active but still not posted to on a consistent basis.

Don't pay until you've used the free version a while

For all of these reasons, we think your best bet is to try The ASL App strictly for the free content. Use it for several weeks (or longer) and see if you encounter any of the technical problems mentioned by other people. By then, you'll have a clearer idea how this app works and whether or not it feels right for your needs. Granted, $9.99 is pretty cheap no matter how you look at it (especially compared with other sign language lessons that charge you by the month), but take the time to see if this service actually functions properly before buying full access.

Where Can You Find the Best Sign Language Lessons?

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.

The Best Sign Language Lessons Compare Sign Language Lessons Compare Sign Language Lesson Reviews What are the best Sign Language Lessons Best Sign Language Lesson Reviews

Sign Language Lesson FAQ

According to the Communication Service for the Deaf, around one million people use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary means of communication in the US and Canada. There are also approximately 16,000 people in the US who serve as interpreters with sign language.
Yes, because there is no universal sign language. Even among countries where the same spoken language is used (like Australia, England, and the United States), sign language users from different nations may not understand each other. There are also three different primary forms of sign language within the US: ASL, Pidgin Signed English, and Signed Exact English, with ASL being the most commonly used.
ASL has its own structure and is a language in its own right. The visual component of sign language means that the hands, arms, face and head are all used to convey meaning in ways that aren't an inherent part of spoken English. Also, many of the grammatical constructs common to English (like pluralized nouns and articles like "a" and "the" ) don't exist as words within American Sign Language.
You might think that sign language will be easy to learn quickly, because it seems similar to English. Experts say that's a misconception: expect it to take 2-3 years of regular study to get to an intermediate level of fluency, and an additional 2 years of interpretation training if you want to reach full fluency.
No. Some people use sign language to teach basic words and concepts to their babies, like "more" and "all done", before the children are able to talk. Sign language can also be used by people who are non-verbal. And, many learners like studying ASL just for the enjoyment of it!
Finding a sign language class near you might be difficult. While there are often beginner courses taught at libraries and community centers, or offered by colleges and universities, you might not be able to find lessons near you - or ones that fit your schedule and budget. The nice thing about online sign language lessons is that you can learn at your own pace. Need to watch the instructor do each new word or phrase 20 times before you feel you've got it? No problem!
Not necessarily. Some providers of ASL instruction charge a one-time fee for books, videos, and/or downloadable materials, while others operate on a month-to-month subscription basis for access to online coursework. Both approaches to sign language lessons are affordable, and are usually much less costly than paying for classes at a college or university.
Sometimes. It depends on where you buy your sign language lessons. We recommend that you see what each course offers as a preview before you sign up, whether that's a demo lesson, downloads of sample coursework, or a free 7-day trial. The more you know about how the lessons are taught and what's covered beforehand, the easier it will be to determine which ASL coursework is right for you.
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Continued from above...

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:

  • Price and Pricing Structure. Your first question should probably be how much the lessons cost - and for how long. Some services give you unlimited lifetime access for a one-time fee, while others put you on a monthly or annual subscription.
  • Free Trial or Content. Most sign language lessons have a way for you to try them out before you make a commitment. Make the most of any free access or lessons to determine if you like the approach the platform takes to teaching ASL.
  • Number and Level of Lessons. How much will you be given to study? Does it match the time you have available and your current skills? If you already have some experience with sign language, the provider you choose needs to have room for you to grow.

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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