Why ASL and Sign Language?

Aren’t those the same thing?  Actually, no.  As there are many variations of English, or Spanish, there are variations with communicating with your hands.

ASL, or American Sign Language, is a true language.  Dr. Bill Vicars, creator of Lifeprint.com (a most amazing site!) says it best.

“ASL is a visual gestural language. That means it is a language that is expressed through the hands and face and is perceived through the eyes. It isn’t just waving your hands in the air. If you furrow your eyebrows, tilt your head, glance in a certain direction, lean your body a certain way, puff your cheek, or any number of other “inflections” –you are adding or changing meaning in ASL. A “visual gestural” language carries just as much information as any spoken language. There is much more to learning American Sign Language than just memorizing signs. ASL has its own grammar, culture, history, terminology and other unique characteristics. It takes time and effort to become a “skilled signer.” But you have to start somewhere if you are going to get anywhere–so dive in and enjoy.”

Signing English. There are multiple ways to sign English as well.  A brief, but good, explanation was found on the Signing Savvy website (again, excellent resource.)

“Signed Exact English is a system to communicate in English through signs and fingerspelling. Signed Exact English, in most cases, uses English grammar (that is, you are signing English). The vocabulary is a combination of ASL signs, modified ASL signs, or unique English signs.”

So, what do you want to learn?  That is left up to your resources, your time, your reason for learning signs or another language, and more.  Here are some good resources to get you started.  As Dr. Bill say, if you are going to learn signs or ASL, it takes time.  Don’t give up!  As always, you can call Beginnings SC or email us and get more information.

Local Resources

The best way to learn a language is with a native speaker, and in this case, a native signer.   There are classes in several parts of the state.  If you want to know about a class in your area, please email us at info@scbegin.org.

Online Resources

This is only a selection of resources online.  Beginnings SC has no affiliation with any of these, although we wish we did!) 

Lifeprint.com– This is the home of ASLU-America Sign Language University.  Dr. Bill has created a volume of information, signs, videos, practice, and workshops.

ASLPro-This is another site that just keeps getting bigger and bigger, better and better.  They “provide free, easy-to-use reference and learning tools to enhance in-classroom learning for ASL Educators and their Students.”

Signing Savvy-An online dictionary with great blog posts about language, Deaf community, signing, etc. For free, you can use the search tool and look up individual signs.  With a paid membership you can search for phrases (more accurate for signing ASL,) print flash cards, create practice flashcards to practice online, etc.

Handspeak.com– Another great site!  Free, online resources for language learners, teachers, parents, and well, anyone.

ASL Nook: Great videos in ASL from a cute family.  “A nook like no others…Words, pictures, and stories come to life with the magic of American Sign Language (ASL). We welcome anyone who wants to learn ASL. Within our cozy nook, you will learn many new signs such as the alphabet, colors, emotions, animals, and beyond.”

Practice Fingerspelling

Online Fingerspelling Quiz with Dr. Bill

ASLPro‘s Practice

Handspeak.com Practice

And not to forget YouTube videos!

Dr. Bill

Signing Time

National Association of the Deaf’s VLOG Channel 

EverdayASL

My Smart Hands

Current ASL Class Offerings in SC
Introduction to Sign Language for Parents & Professionals

Cost: $15 for adults (FREE for parents of children with special needs)

Duration: 1 day

Registration Link: Scroll down on this link to see class offerings near you and sign up: https://www.speechsigns.com/courses

Description:
This is an introduction to sign language workshop. It covers 25 single signs, the manual alphabet, and numbers 1-10. Participants will learn and practice the signs and learn tips for teaching signs to children. It also covers how sign language can encourage speech and language development, enhance overall communication and reduce frustration for children who are not yet able to effectively communicate using speech.

Instructor Bio: Jill Eversmann is a pediatric speech-language pathologist with 30 years of experience and is a Signing Time instructor. In addition to working in early intervention, she teaches sign language workshops for parents and professionals and is a national speaker with Cross Country Education. She loves working with young children and their families, teaching sign language and sharing the many benefits signing can offer to preverbal and non-verbal children, children with hearing loss as well as to typically developing children. Jill received her B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from James Madison University and her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Towson University. She is ASHA certified and licensed in SC.

Save

USC - American Sign Language for Beginners Part I

Cost: $120

Duration: 6 weeks

Registration Link: https://sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/continuing_education/personal_interest/arts_and_languages/american_sign_language_part_1/index.php

Description: ASL at Work takes students who have no knowledge of Sign Language to the point where they can function comfortably in a wide variety of situations in the Deaf community. Cultural information taught throughout this class will allow you to interact with the Deaf community in a way that is respectful and aware. Everyday communication is the centerpiece of every lesson. Topics revolve around sharing information about our environment and us. Grammar is introduced in context, with an emphasis on developing question and answering skills. The student workbook is rich in colorful pictures, signed vocabulary, expansion of classroom instruction, Deaf history and culture, and exercises led by Deaf models on two video DVDs that are included with your workbook.

List ThumbnailInstructor Bio: Camillia “Cammy” Lynch is a Deaf woman whose primary language is American Sign Language. She currently works as a translator for Deaf Services within South Carolina Department of Mental Health and volunteers as an ASL Music translator at New Springs Church. Cammy graduated from Gallaudet University with her bachelor’s degree in Sociology with concentration in Criminology. She has an associate degree in Computer Info System. During her spare time, Cammy enjoys reading, photography, computer troubleshooting, traveling, and playing with her Weimaraner dog “Grace”. Today, Cammy resides in Gaston, SC with her husband Donald Lynch.

Save

USC - American Sign Language for Beginners Part II

Cost: $120

Duration: 6 weeks

Registration Link:  https://sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/continuing_education/personal_interest/arts_and_languages/american_sign_language_part_2/index.php

Description: In Part II, you will continue to study everyday communication in every lesson. Topics revolve around sharing information about our the world around us. Grammar is introduced in context, with an emphasis on developing question and answering skills. The student workbook is rich in colorful pictures, signed vocabulary, expansion of classroom instruction, Deaf history and culture, and exercises led by Deaf models on two video DVDs that are included with your workbook.

Prerequisite: You must complete American Sign Language for Beginners Part 1 before enrolling in this course. 

List ThumbnailInstructor Bio: Camillia “Cammy” Lynch is a Deaf woman whose primary language is American Sign Language. She currently works as a translator for Deaf Services within South Carolina Department of Mental Health and volunteers as an ASL Music translator at New Springs Church. Cammy graduated from Gallaudet University with her bachelor’s degree in Sociology with concentration in Criminology. She has an associate degree in Computer Info System. During her spare time, Cammy enjoys reading, photography, computer troubleshooting, traveling, and playing with her Weimaraner dog “Grace”. Today, Cammy resides in Gaston, SC with her husband Donald Lynch.  

Save

Florence-Darlington Tech - ASL

Cost: $125

Registration Link: Scroll down to “Personal Enrichment,” click on the [link] to access the current PDF of courses, and scroll through the PDF to the “Personal Enrichment” section: https://www.fdtc.edu/continuing-education/programs/classroom

Description: Sign language can enhance your ability to converse with the deaf or hard of hearing, and many young parents are adopting the growing trend of “Baby Sign,” to communicate with their young children before speech skills are fully developed.

Online Course - Discover Sign Language

Cost: $129

Duration: 6 weeks

Greenville Tech Information and Registration Link: https://www.ed2go.com/greenvilletech/online-courses/learn-sign-language?tab=detail

College of Charleston Information and Registration Link: https://www.ed2go.com/ccpe/online-courses/learn-sign-language?tab=detail

Description: It’s truly amazing that we can communicate just by using our hands! Add different facial expressions, and you have a conversation—the language of Deaf people. In this course, you’ll discover how to use this graceful, expressive language to communicate with Deaf people. You’ll begin with an introduction to the language itself, and learn to create the signs for numbers. You’ll also master the sign alphabet so you can fingerspell proper names. Then you’ll learn to sign phrases and expand to complete sentences, and see how to put it all together so you can introduce yourself and start a conversation. Along the way you’ll learn signs for colors, numbers, where you live, family, and the activities you like to do and even the ones you don’t. Throughout, you’ll learn by watching videos that demonstrate how to make the signs and how to incorporate facial expressions to communicate in this beautiful language. This course is taught using the best practices of the industry with a minimum of audio support. Throughout, you’ll be immersed in silence, so you’ll gain an understanding of the perspective of Deaf people and sign language. You’ll also gain an introduction to the world of Deaf culture and explore topics such as lipreading, baby signs, and the career of interpreting. By the end of the course, when you meet a Deaf person, you’ll be ready to sign!

Instructor Bio: Jennifer Carmean has been involved in the Deaf community since 1982. During that time she has worked with Deaf people as a counselor and taught American Sign Language. She has experience writing curriculum and developing sign language degrees for community colleges. She’s a member of the American Sign Language Teacher’s Association and the National Association of the Deaf. She has a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with the Deaf and a professional certificate in teaching English as a foreign language. She has a certificate of completion in using the Signing Naturally curriculum. 

Midlands Technical College - ASL Certificate Program

Tuition: $3,520 + applicable fees

Description: The American Sign Language (ASL) certificate is designed to prepare students for careers in the growing field of ASL communication and interpretation. The program also provides valuable language skills for a wide array of career areas including education, business, legal, heath care and human services/social work. Please note that this is not to be confused with certification. However, completion of the certificate program may enable students to transfer to an interpreting program in preparation for certification.

Info and Registration Link: https://www.midlandstech.edu/learn/academics/business/american-sign-language-certificate

Save

ASL Club of Greenville

Information Link: https://www.meetup.com/ASL-Club-of-Greenville-SC/?_cookie-check=p1MR3kz2ajG805PG

Description: The Greenville ASL Club offers FREE classes to the community every Friday, 10am-Noon, out of the University Center of Greenville, 2nd floor, Room 501. Classes alternate between “Beginners” and “Intermediate/Advanced.” Tomorrow is an Intermediate/Advanced ASL class, next week Beginner’s, and so on and so forth. Deaf men and women from the area voluntarily teach, with a hearing interpreter always present. ALL are welcome and encouraged to come learn, share and socialize!

This group is for anyone who has a passion for American Sign Language (ASL). We welcome all adults who are Deaf, hard of hearing (HH), hearing, students, parents, teachers, interpreters, or any community member looking for an opportunity to connect with other signers! We offer a casual and fun environment, opportunities to get together for conversation, laughs and fellowship, make new friends, socialize, relax and enjoy each other’s company, as well as having the privilege of helping others strengthen their ASL skills. We will meet a few times each month to hang out, eat good food and sign with each other. We will also participate in other special activities as they become available.

An understanding of the ASL alphabet and some basic signs are required for membership. Those in the process of learning ASL are encouraged to continue studying on their own, in addition to attending our get togethers. We also welcome any fluent ASL signers and Deaf participants who are willing to help less experienced signers improve their signing skills!

All members are encouraged to make suggestions and assist in organizing activities and events whenever possible. Any member of the group can host an event or activity. If you have an idea of a good place for a MeetUp, or if you’d be interested in having members over to your home for an event, we would love to hear about it! Please send an email to our group organizers to let us know your ideas! Most of our activities will be in the evenings, after work, however, we will also offer activities on the weekends as we are able.

Also as part of this website, we’ll be posting ASL resources, information about activities and events, and have discussion forums. These items can be found in the “Message Board” area of the website. At this time, this section is still under construction. It will be a work in progress for the time being. If you have any suggestions for the Message Boards, please send them along!

List of Greenville/Spartanburg Events to Practice ASL
Fill out my online form.

Save