ASL 101 Tutorial: beginner level

These basic lessons are offered for learners who are interested in learning ASL as a second language (L2) online. These self-paced, self-learning lessons are for your personal and educational interests only whether you are an ASL student, a parent of deaf children, or an individual in a remote area.

Click on the titles for more details.

ASL/Deaf Awareness quiz

Introducing oneself.

NAME, WHAT?, WHO; all alphabetical letters; NICE, MEET-YOU
Using a wh-question signal.
Fingerspelling one's name.
Understanding pronouns and spatial referencing.
Pointing; acting out: strategies of asking what the sign is for.
SIGN, WHAT; BOOK, CHAIR, DOOR, COMPUTER, PAPER, etc.
Understanding a basic OSV structure.
[action] IX-me #DO++ WHAT?
[object]/\ YOU [verb] (giving a command)
Tell when: IN-PAST/BEFORE, NOW, FUTURE/WILL
Counting 1 to 12. NUMBER, NEXT, BEFORE/PREVIOUS
Farewell: BYE.

Greetings: asking how one is.
HOW YOU?, FINE, GOOD, TIRED, etc.
Telling whose object is
Understand the difference between pronouns and possessives.
Voc: YOU, ME, YOUR, MY, etc.
Recognizing same/different

Voc: SAME, DIFFERENT
Opposite and category: strategies of asking what the sign is.
YES/NO, MAN/WOMAN, etc.
Use a basic constructive structure (grammar).
Use [objects] WHOLE IX+ SIGN WHAT?
Describing basic feelings.
PEOPLE; MAN, WOMAN, BOY, GIRL
FEELINGS; HAPPY, SAD, MAD...
Use a yes/no question signal. IX HAPPY, IX?
Negation: NOT
Basic activities: What is one doing?
RUNNING, SITTING, WALKING...
Use a verb LIKE, NOT+LIKE.
Tell when: YESTERDAY, TOMORROW, TODAY
Stategies: asking what a sign means and asking for clarification.
MEANING, EXPLAIN MORE, EXPLAIN AGAIN, CONTEXT+DEPENDENT or DEPEND+CONTEXT...
Use a verb inflection for GIVE.
Identifying a person: basic description and basic colors.
WHO: WOMAN, MAN, GIRL, BOY, PEOPLE, PERSON.
SHIRT, PANTS, GLASSES, HAT
COLOR, BLUE, YELLOW, etc.
Expressing basic needs and wants.
Talking about weather.
OUTSIDE, SNOW, RAIN, NICE, CLOUDY, SUNNY, etc.
Seasons of the year: SPRING, FALL, WINTER, SUMMER.
Talking about home.
HOME, HOUSE, #APT, #CONDO, ROOMMATE etc.
LIVE WITH, #PET
Talking about non-numeral age.
NEW, YOUNG, OLD, VERY-OLD,
Talking about studies.
STUDY, GRADUATE
Talking about work: basic occupations.
WORK, SERVE, CLEAN, COOK, etc.
Work in progress
Count cardinal numbers from one through 100.
- Tell age.
Count cardinal numbers from 1 to 30. Review 1-10. Introduce HOW-MANY, PLUS.
Tell frequency: days and weeks.
Work in progress
Talking about home country.
BIRTH, HISTORY
Tell a year.
Watch the documentary Audism Unveiled.
Shopping for clothes.
BUY, PAY, COST
Tell a price in dollars and cents.
Describing people.
APPEARANCE, TALL, SHORT, SLIM, CHUBBY, etc.
Oral exam: tips
Final exam: study tips

A word of caution: online lessons are, in any way, no substitute for face-to-face instruction and live interaction in real life. I strongly recommend that you take a face-to-face course to attain a high level of communicative competency. However, these lessons may be beneficial supplementary materials or extra practice for ASL students, instructors, and individuals alike.

These online tutorials are only a scratch or a small amount from real life classroom where you would acquire the language more, consume a lot of information, practice live interactive communication, turn-taking, and so on. These lessons do not necessarily reflect the same from your real life instructor's curriculum.

The most efficient communicative competency is two-way interactive communication with a native or near-native instructor and fluent signers in Deaf/ASL community. It's an opportunity where you can acquire the target language in an immersive environemnt, develop and use your language through two-way interactive conversations and meaning negotiation, receive corrective feedback, develop your language structure, and understand subtle pragmatics, contextual meanings, and other complex aspects.

Got any question or a tutorial request? Send your email to Handspeak. These lessons are a personal, volunteer contribution; thus, many things are incomplete or are work in progress.

Got some memorable anecdotes, learning tips, and/or invaluable advice to share with others students and instructors? Instructors are welcome to contribute tutorial posts, tips, and/or ideas. Email me.