American Sign Language for Dummies

by ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-11-30
  • Publisher: For Dummies
  • Purchase Benefits
  • Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • eCampus.com Logo Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $24.99 Save up to $8.20
  • Buy New


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Grasp the rich culture and language of the Deaf community

To see people use American Sign Language (ASL) to share ideas is remarkable and fascinating to watch. Now, you have a chance to enter the wonderful world of sign language. American Sign Language For Dummies offers you an easy-to-access introduction so you can get your hands wet with ASL, whether you're new to the language or looking for a great refresher.

Used predominantly in the United States, ASL provides the Deaf community with the ability to acquire and develop language and communication skills by utilizing facial expressions and body movements to convey and process linguistic information. With American Sign Language For Dummies, the complex visual-spatial and linguistic principles that form the basis for ASL are broken down, making this a great resource for friends, colleagues, students, education personnel, and parents of Deaf children.

  • Grasp the various ways ASL is communicated
  • Get up to speed on the latest technological advancements assisting the Deaf
  • Understand how cultural background and regionalism can affect communication
  • Follow the instructions in the book to access bonus videos online and practice signing along with an instructor

If you want to get acquainted with Deaf culture and understand what it's like to be part of a special community with a unique shared and celebrated history and language, American Sign Language For Dummies gets you up to speed on ASL fast.

Author Biography

Adan R. Penilla II, PhD, NIC, NAD IV, CI/CT, SC:L, ASLTA, teaches American Sign Language at Colorado State University and is a freelance interpreter for the Colorado court system. Angela Lee Taylor has taught ASL for Pikes Peak Community College and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Table of Contents


About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4


CHAPTER 1: You Already Know a Little Sign 7

Discovering Signs That Look like What They Mean 8

Building on the Basics of Sign: Gestures and Expression 9

Spelling with your fingers 9

Shaping up those hands 12

Benefiting with body language 14

Gazing at the face of expression 15

CHAPTER 2: Signing Grammar Basics 17

Explaining the Parts of Speech 17

Distinguishing between noun/verb pairs 18

Modifying with adjectives and adverbs 20

Talking Tenses 22

Structuring Sentences 24

Subjecting yourself to nouns and verbs in simple sentences 24

Placing subjects and objects 24

Exclaiming in Simple Sentences 31

Signing Conditional Sentences 36

Personification: The Secret of Agents 37

Clarifying with Classifiers 39

CHAPTER 3: Starting to Sign Basic Expressions 41

Initiating a Conversation 41

Attracting someone’s attention 42

Using greetings and closings 43

Getting Acquainted 47

Sharing feelings and emotions 49

Connecting your thoughts 52

Talking about where you’re from 53

Acting the Part: Constructed Dialogue and Constructed Action 62

Constructed Dialogue 62

Constructed Action 63

CHAPTER 4: Getting Your Numbers and Times Straight 65

Counting on Numbers 65

Getting from one to ten with cardinal numbers 67

Ordering ordinal numbers 69

Signing phone numbers and the like 70

Talking about Time 70

Signing calendar dates 74

CHAPTER 5: Signing at Home 79

Handling Signs about Your Home 79

Touring all the rooms 83

Furnishing your home 86

Hanging Out for the Holidays 92

Teaching the Tots 95

Keeping Track of Your Subjects in Space 97


CHAPTER 6: Asking Questions and Making Small Talk 101

Signing Key Questions: Six Ws, One H 102

Discussing Family, Friends, and More 107

Family and friends 107

Relating where you live and work 111

Using Possessives and Pronouns When Chatting 123

Personal pronouns and possessives 123

Demonstrative pronouns 125

CHAPTER 7: Asking for Directions 129

Finding Your Way 129

Looking to Natural Landmarks 135

Searching the Streets 138

Transporting Yourself 141

Directing Your Sentences with Conjunctions 143

CHAPTER 8: Dining and Going to the Market 147

Eating Three Square Meals a Day 147

Having breakfast 152

Munching on lunch 154

Enjoying dinner 159

Dining Out 163

Ethnic food around town 164

Don’t forget the drinks! 166

Attention, Shoppers! 170

Signing specialty stores 170

Getting a good deal 172

CHAPTER 9: Shopping Made Easy 175

Clothes for All Seasons 175

The winter look 176

Fall fashion 180

Spring style 182

Summer suits 186

Clothing by color 188

All about Money 194

Shopping Superlatives and Comparisons 199

CHAPTER 10: The Signer About Town 203

Making Plans 203

Going to the movies 206

Going to the theater 211

Going to the museum 213

Selecting Your Social Station 215

CHAPTER 11: Takin’ Care of Business 221

Occupying Yourself with Occupations 221

Sorting Office Supplies 227

Getting to Work 230

CHAPTER 12: Recreation and the Great Outdoors 235

Exercising Your Right to Recreate 235

Getting into the competitive spirit 236

Setting out solo 242

Playing Indoor Games 246

Having Fun with Hobbies 248

Seeing the Night Sky 251

Getting the Weather Report 254

Asking Rhetorical Questions in ASL 259

CHAPTER 13: Here’s to Your Health 263

Going to the Doctor 263

Signaling medical personnel 263

Figuring out how you feel 265

Expressing medical terms 267

Describing Ailments and Treatments 269

Pointing to Body Parts 272

Handling Emergencies 277


CHAPTER 14: The Deaf Community and Deaf Etiquette 283

Digging into Sign’s Past 284

Examining When and How ASL began 284

Facing the Challenges of the Deaf Community 285

Putting the past behind us 285

You’ve come a long way, baby 286

The Deaf as an Ethnic Group 288

Understanding Deaf culture 289

Knowing who falls into the Deaf cultural community 289

Living as bilingual/bicultural people 290

Being Sensitive to Being Deaf 291

Living together in a hearing world 291

Getting the Deaf perspective 292

Participating in the Deaf Community 292

Finding your place in the Deaf community 293

Communicating with new Deaf friends for the first time 294

Questions you shouldn’t ask 295

Interpreting for the Deaf Community 295

CHAPTER 15: Soliciting Social Justice 297

Oralists and Manualists Meet in Milan 298

The Deaf Have It 299

Rejecting Language Oppression 299

Movers and Shakers 300

CHAPTER 16: Using Technology to Communicate 301

Using Videophones: Can You See Me Now? 301

Communicating with videophones 302

What to expect when using a video relay service 303

Keeping quiet what is private 304

Using Other Communication Methods 304

Texting 24/7 304

Chatting visually 305

Calling through Captioning 305


CHAPTER 17: Ten Tips to Help You Sign like a Pro 309

Watch Yourself and Others Sign 309

Discover Multiple Signs for Communicating One Thing 310

Practice Your Signing — with Others 310

Always Fingerspell a Name First 310

Adjust Your Eyes; Everyone’s Signing Is Different 310

Use Facial Expressions like Vocal Inflections 311

Journal Your Progress 311

Get Some Signing Space 312

Don’t Jump the Gun 312

Watch the Face, Not the Hands 312

CHAPTER 18: Ten Ways to Pick Up Sign Quickly 313

Volunteer at a Residential School for the Deaf 313

Volunteer at Local Deaf Clubs 314

Attend Deaf Social Functions 314

Make Deaf Friends 315

Assist Deaf Ministries 315

Attend Conferences for Interpreters 315

Work at Camps for the Deaf 315

Attend Silent Weekends 316

Go to Deaf Workshops and Deaf Conferences 316

Watch Sign Language Videos 317

CHAPTER 19: Ten Popular Deaf Expressions 319

Swallowed the Fish 319

Train Gone 320

Pea Brain 320

Rats!/Darn! 321

I Hope 322

Your Guess Is as Good as Mine 322

Cool! 322

Oh No! 323

That’s Superb! 323

That’s Pretty Straight-Laced 324

Wow! 324


Rewards Program

Write a Review