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The best apps for learning sign language

The best apps for learning sign language Today's smart phone apps make learning sign language convenient and interactive. We've reviewed the best apps for learning sign language here. 2017 698 The best apps for learning sign language

Want to learn how to communicate with the Deaf community or people with hearing loss who may use ASL? Just like so many other things, there’s an app for that.

classroom of students learning ASL
ASL is a vibrant language that serves the 
Deaf community. 

American Sign Language (ASL) is a robust visual language which uses the shape, placement and movement of the hands along with facial expressions and body movements to communicate.

People of all hearing abilities can use ASL including:

  • Members of the Deaf community
  • Parents of children who are deaf or who have hearing loss
  • Educators
  • Interpreters for the Deaf

The language is thought to have originated more than 200 years ago and, like its spoken counterpart, is distinctly different depending upon the region of the country you are from. ​

Thanks to today’s technology, anyone with a smartphone or tablet can learn ASL basics or practice its techniques. To help you get started, we’ve assembled a list of popular apps.

ASL Coach (free)

Rated 4+

Compatible with iOS

Language: English

If you’re just beginning, this app will teach you to sign the alphabet and numbers one through nine. 

The ASL app (free)

Rated 4

Compatible with iOS

Language: English

This app was designed by bilingual (English and ASL) Deaf people and is meant to teach conversational ASL. Using more than 1000 videos, it’s packed with features to make learning ASL fun and easy.

ASL Fingerspelling ($3.99)

Rated 4+

Compatible with iOS and Android

Languages: English

This app is a practice tool designed to help improve ability to read fingerspelling. Users like the variety of words and ability to choose the speed of fingerspelling.

Marlee Signs (free)

Rated 4+

Compatible with iOS

Languages: English

Academy Award winning deaf actress, Marlee Matlin, teaches the fundamentals of ASL, from the signed alphabet and basic vocabulary through common expressions in everyday life. Each lesson is broken down into individual videos so users can learn at their own pace. The app keeps track of completed lessons and features a “slow motion” setting to allow viewing in greater detail.

Sign Language for Beginners (free)

Rated 4+

Compatible with Android

Languages: English

Simple illustrations show you how to sign common letters, numbers and a few common words in American Sign Language.

My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary ($0.99)

Rated 4+

Compatible with iOS and Android

Languages: English

Created by the makers of My Smart Hands, an international baby sign language program with more than 150 instructors in more than 10 countries, this app features 45 minutes of instructional video from ASL instructor and My Smart Hands founder Laura Berg. The video dictionary demonstrates ASL signs and explains how to make, remember and understand them. My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Dictionary is also available on the android market. 

Baby Sign Language Dictionary ($2.99)

Rated 4+

For kids 5 and under

Compatible with iOS and Android

Languages: English, Simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese

This app includes 40 real-life signing video demonstrations to help you learn to sign with your baby. Each sign has a detailed video tutorial and is organized into categories such as action words, animals, daily routines and feelings. The app also comes with a fun interactive video quiz to help you learn and remember the signs.

WeSign Basic (free)

Rated 4+

Compatible with iOS

Languages: English

This app teaches ASL relating to school, helping parents ask common questions of their deaf children such as, “Did you finish your homework?”

While these apps can help you learn sign language, keep in mind that ASL is much more than just making gestures with your hands. Like any language, you’ll want to learn the grammar and nuances of the language to become truly proficient.

These aren't the only useful hearing-related apps for your phone. Check out apps that measure noise levels, caption your phone conversations and even check your hearing. No app can replace good hearing help from another human, especially if you suspect you or someone you love has hearing loss. To get customized hearing care with a personal touch, find a hearing health professional in your area and make the call.

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