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November 25, 2012 / carlispina

Learn American Sign Language with Marlee Signs

Marlee Signs LogoAs someone who has been learning American Sign Language (ASL), I was immediately intrigued by the new Marlee Signs app. This app includes videos of Marlee Matlin teaching fingerspelling and basic signs for those interested in learning more about ASL. The app itself is free and includes within it an introduction to the app, a spelling feature that allows users to have any word spelled out in sign language, and seven lessons that introduces some basic words and phrases. Currently, users also have the option to buy any or all of the five additional lesson packages, which are entitled “Around You,” “Home,” “Around Town,” “Around World,” and “Baby Signs.” Each of these lesson packages costs $1.99 and includes between four and six additional lessons.

The introduction to this app states that it is only intended as an introduction to the language and not as a replacement for taking a sign language course. And, in this respect, I think that the app succeeds. The videos are clear and easy for students to replicate. The phrases selected are short enough to be manageable while still providing the building blocks for simple conversations. The current version of the app has a few minor technical issues (I had it crash once after the first video I played and had several back-to-back pop-up messages appear asking for feedback the very first time I logged into the app), but overall, I found that it worked well. In the end, this app is not nearly robust enough to teach a user the entirety of American Sign Language, but for those who want to learn a bit more about ASL to decide whether to take a class on it or those who are in a class and want to watch practice videos on the go, it is a worthwhile tool.


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