If you’ve wanted to learn sign language, you’ve probably looked at classes at your nearest community college, found an instructor who teaches ASL for a nominal fee or even found some online videos to get you started. Those are all great options to get started but guess what? There’s a newer option now to learn ASL! GIPHY, the online database and search engine that lets you search for animated GIFs, has a new channel now that consists of more than 2,000 educational sign language clips. This channel has been created in collaboration with Robert DeMayo, the creator of Sign With Robert, who has been deaf since birth.
The one thing about gifs is that they loop indefinitely, so it’s the perfect way to learn sing language. Learning by watching videos can be a little cumbersome because one has to keep rewinding and playing repeatedly to master a word or phrase, especially if it’s not an easy one to sign. The Sign with Robert gifs can be browsed by categories (Date & Time & Weather, Expression, Emotions, Lifestyle, etc.) and sub categories (Days of the Week, Months and Season; Common Expressions, Everyday Expressions; Positive Emotions, Neutral Emotions; Fashion & Clothing, Internet & Social Media, etc.). There is a search box available as well to search for ASL gifs only within the Sign with Robert channel. Giphy plans to keeep expanding this channel.
It is quite possible that no one would be able to become an expert in ASL by only learning from these GIFs, however, it is a very creative way to encourage people to pick up sign language. It is estimated that there are 30 million people with hearing impairment in the USA, and ASL is the third most language in the country. Community members knowing even a little bit of ASL can make deaf people comfortable and enhance their sense of inclusion.
So, what are you waiting for? Head to the Sign with Robert channel and start signing!