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The ASL App Review

Sunday, May 19th

2024 Sign Language Lesson Reviews

The ASL App Review 2.5 Star Rating

The ASL App

2.5 Star Rating
  • One-time payment of $9.99 for full access
  • iOS or Android app
  • Designed by native ASL users
  • Offers over 1,800 videos for learning
  • Provides free content including ABCs, numbers, and colors
  • Allows for search of specific words or phrases
  • Designed for on-the-go, everyday conversations
  • Shortlisted for a Webby Award in 2021

DeafDigits Inc is a creative team that's made up of third-generation deaf people who are native users of American Sign Language. They've designed The ASL App, an educational tool that teaches you how to use ASL in on-the-go, everyday conversations. Their approach to teaching is based on how you would naturally learn from deaf people, believing that deaf people should be the ones teaching sign language. They also make other sign language apps and have a collection of them available on the App Store.

Free and paid content

The ASL App has over 1800 videos available for you to explore. It offers 28 categories or "bundles" of signs, covering topics from dining to sports to holidays, and more. You get to learn individual signs, as well as how to use them in everyday conversations. You can easily search for specific words or phrases you want to learn, and the app will show you the relevant videos. It offers free content like ABCs, numbers, universal gestures, handshape exercises, and colors. There are also paid categories, like pop culture and social media, but be aware that these might be outdated if the app hasn't been updated recently.

Incorrect, the grammar is

In The ASL App, some users have noted that the grammar doesn't follow the typical structure used in the Deaf community. For instance, when signing the question "What is your name?", the app uses a sentence structure that's more similar to spoken English than ASL. In ASL, the proper way to sign this would be more like "Name, your what?", which follows an object-subject-verb order. But, in the video, it's signed, "What is your name?" One user quips, "To a deaf individual, it would be as if Yoda were talking to them." Others have pointed out that some basic signs are incorrect, making them wonder if this app really was created by deaf people as claimed.

The app has issues

The ASL App has a few issues. It's got a 3.5-star rating on the App Store and 3.6 on Google Play Store, with about as many 1-star reviews as 5-star reviews. The app often crashes and its content isn't well-arranged. For example, the alphabet section doesn't allow users to practice individual letters and there's no pause button. The topic sections have navigation issues too, as there's no list of all phrases.

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Some videos never load

There's a slow playback mode, but it's not clear that you need to click the turtle button to replay a slow-mode video. Also, some important videos, like those in the free gestures section, are often missing or unavailable. Don't expect these issues to be resolved if you shell out the one-time payment of $9.99, either - paid users have the same problems with the app.

Nobody's home

In 2021, The ASL App had the honor of being shortlisted for a Webby Award, a prestigious recognition that celebrates the finest contributions to the internet. They were chosen as part of the top 10% from a pool of 13,500 contenders. However, there are some concerns about the level of support you might receive with this app on any platform. The ASL App's social media presence suggests that the company went silent after receiving their Webby Award: their Facebook page hasn't been updated, their YouTube link doesn't work, and their Instagram and Twitter accounts show minimal activity and infrequent updates. We haven't seen follow-ups to complaints in the App Store reviews since right after the app was launched.

Use the free version first

Based on all of these experiences, we'd recommend that you only use the free content on The ASL App to start with. Try it out for a few weeks or more and see if you run into any of the issues others have reported. This way, you'll get a good feel for how the app works and if it suits your needs. Keep in mind, while $9.99 seems like a small price (especially compared to other sign language lessons that charge monthly), it's important to make sure the app works well before you decide to pay for full access.

Where Can You Find the Best Sign Language Lessons Online?

Maybe you've decided to learn sign language because you have a deaf child, or perhaps there's a new student at your school who is hard of hearing and you'd like to befriend them. Or it could be that you're simply fascinated by this beautiful, expressive language and want to expand your communication skills. Whatever your reason, learning sign language opens up a new realm of possibilities for connection and understanding.

Learning sign language is unlike picking up any spoken language. You're not just memorizing vocabulary and grammar; you're learning to convey and interpret messages through gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Imagine expressing complex emotions or detailed narratives with your hands and face - it's a whole new way of thinking and communicating.

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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...

Also, keep in mind that sign language is not universal; each country, and sometimes regions within countries, has its own sign language with distinct rules and grammar. This means that learning American Sign Language won't necessarily enable you to communicate with someone who uses British Sign Language (BSL), for example.

Online sign language lessons have surged in popularity over the years. This can be attributed to several reasons that make these lessons an attractive option for a diverse range of learners. But one of the main reasons for the popularity of online sign language lessons is the unparalleled convenience they offer.

Sign language learners can access courses over the internet from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for physical attendance at specific locations. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for people with busy schedules, letting them learn at their own pace and at times that suit their personal and professional commitments.

Another reason why online sign language lessons are so popular is they can provide a wealth of resources and interactive tools that enhance the learning experience. These can include video tutorials, live classes, interactive exercises, and community forums, all designed to foster a deeper understanding and proficiency in sign language.

The multimedia approach of online sign language lessons caters to different learning styles, ensuring that both visual and auditory learners can all benefit from the courses. High-quality video demonstrations by native signers help learners grasp the nuances of signs, facial expressions, and body language, which are crucial aspects of effective communication in sign language.

If you're considering online sign language lessons, you'll find them a flexible, accessible way to learn. Maybe your schedule is packed, and you need to fit lessons in between other commitments. Or you live in a place without a strong Deaf or hard-of-hearing community to practice with. Online lessons offer the chance to learn from the comfort of your home, with resources like video tutorials that show you exactly how to form each sign, and interactive courses that provide feedback on your signing skills.

When you're choosing an online sign language course, keep these points in mind:

  • Content quality and relevance. You'll want a course that covers everything from the basics to more advanced conversations. For example, if you're learning sign language to communicate with a deaf child, look for lessons that include signs for family, emotions, and daily routines.
  • Interactive learning tools. Opt for courses that make learning fun and effective with quizzes, games, or even a virtual practice buddy. This can help you practice signing in real-time, which is crucial for building your confidence.
  • Feedback and support. It can be helpful to have access to personalized feedback on your signing. Some platforms may offer video assessments or allow you to connect with experienced signers for advice.
  • Flexibility and accessibility. Whether you prefer learning late at night or during your morning commute, the best online lessons work with your schedule and are accessible on various devices.

Top Consumer Reviews has taken a close look at the available options and ranked the best sign language lessons to help you on your way. Whether you're just starting or looking to deepen your knowledge, we hope this guide aids you in finding the perfect sign language lessons to fit your life and learning goals.

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