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ASL Practice


I am a hearing person, but I am afraid of going deaf or losing some hearing. I had a ruptured eardrum recently and my hearing was out of wack for almost 2 weeks and it was really challenging. I am also interested in many different languages, so I decided to start learning American Sign Language (ASL).

I use Excel a lot at work and at home, so I naturally am using Excel to help learn ASL. I use a random sampling, kind of like a flash cards approach. What do I mean by this? Check out this spreadsheet I created to help practice ASL: aslpractice.xlsm.

(example of a random selection)

I sample from four lists in this spreadsheet.

The first list is the alphabet, the letters a through z. The alphabet seems a natural thing to practice, especially in ASL since you can fingerspell anything you don't know the sign for.

The second list is a list of signs that I have learned. That doesn't mean I have mastered these, although I could have. It just means I have been exposed to these signs at some point.

The third list is a list of signs copied and pasted from Bill Vicars' amazing http://www.lifeprint.com site. Check him out there and on YouTube please.

The fourth list is also from Vicars. It is a list of phrases copied and pasted from http://www.lifeprint.com.

You can add entries to any of these lists. Just make sure to then sort the column in alphabetical order and make sure you don't have duplicate entries. For the first column I have a duplicate alert system in place to illustrate how I find any duplicates I may have.

I could make the spreadsheet so you can "weight" the probability of selection. For example, you could make it so only the ASL signs that you want to emphasize practicing more could be randomly selected or selected with higher probability. I use this approach in other spreadsheets on my site, so if you are interested you can check them out. For this ASL spreadsheet I didn't want to clutter or complexify it too much.

To get fresh selections, just keep pressing F9. Of course, you can make the text HUGE if you were using this in a classroom setting.

I hope this spreadsheet helps you reinforce what you've learned. As usual, the best way to practice is to use it in the real world, make mistakes, learn, try using it again, and iterate!

Have fun, and thanks for reading.

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