What is the best app to learn sign language in 2022

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best app to learn sign language

Learning sign language is not only useful but also an important skill to have as it helps you communicate with the deaf and hearing communities.

You can use American Sign Language (ASL) to get your message across to deaf people as well as to people who can hear but do not understand your spoken language.

Fortunately, the advent of the Internet and mobile apps provide boundless information at your fingertips, making it incredibly easy to learn sign language.

Sign language apps offer people an easy and affordable way to pick up the language. These apps offer a lot of conveniences, so you can learn ASL lessons anytime and anywhere, whether you’re brewing coffee or on the bus. 

Some apps also have a playful user interface and provide ASL vocabulary lessons in the form of fun interactive video quizzes or games, making the ASL learning experience all the more enjoyable.

If you’re on the hunt for the best app to learn sign language on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, we’ve rounded up the 13 best apps for sign language. Check them out below.

13 Best Apps to Learn Sign Language

Below is a list of 13 apps you can immediately download and start learning sign language.

1. ASL American Sign Language

1. ASL American Sign Language
  • Device: iOS and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases available

ASL American Sign Language is a free app for teaching sign languages. It is ideal for beginners who wish to learn sign language, especially the ASL alphabet and numbers 1 to 100.

The app features over 4,000 signs and phrases that are commonly used in regular conversations. This makes it one of the best ASL apps for learning ASL basics and improving practical conversation skills.

ASL American Sign Language also includes a predictive search engine, helping you find the sign that you need quickly.

You can also test your knowledge and advance in your lessons quickly by using the app’s picture-matching game for letters and numbers. 

ASL American Sign Language also includes nursery rhymes, making it great for learning ASL with kids.

Its video clips also come with audio, so if you have functional hearing and prefer the lesson videos to have audio, you may enjoy this feature.

However, note that the quality of the videos is not always great. Some videos have music playing in the background, while others have the instructor standing far away from the camera.

The basic subscription plan of the app is free. But, you can access extra features with a one-time purchase of $2.99.

2. SignSchool

  • Device: Desktop computer, iOS, and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free

SignSchool is another free sign language app that is great for learning American Sign Language. It offers many fantastic features and lets you choose from a wide range of sign topics and dialects in the ASL dictionary.

Developed by three friends, including a deaf person, the visual-only app has over 4,500 signs and 200 categories. It also helps you build on your learning through multiple-choice games.

The app features a SignBuilder tool that displays signs randomly to help you work on your ASL vocabulary.

The app also has a “Sign of the Day” feature that teaches you a new sign every day. If you find the movements of a sign too fast for your liking, you can use the slow-motion option and watch the sign at a relaxed pace.

You can use the app on your iOS or Android device or even on a desktop computer.

However, note that certain signs have more than one meaning, and the app does not explain the differences clearly. This makes the sign language app better for intermediate signers who know ASL basics and wish to improve their vocabulary.

3. The ASL App

  • Device: iOS and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases available

Developed by a deaf-owned and deaf-run company called Ink & Salt, the ASL App was created by bilingual deaf people who speak English and ASL. This visual-only app is specifically designed to teach conversational ASL. 

It includes over 2,500 commonly used ASL signs and phrases and more than 1,000 video clips. The ASL App also offers a diverse range of features like a handy search index, a favorites folder, and a slow-motion option, making learning ASL easy and fun.

You can use the ASL App one-handed and on the go, too. This makes it one of the best apps for learning American Sign Language.

Its basic features and tools are free to use. The ASL App also has value-added offerings known as Sign Bundles that cost $0.99 each, with all bundles having different themes ranging from colors to pop culture.

If you want access to all the existing and future bundles of The ASL App, you can make a one-time purchase of $9.99.

4. Lingvano

3. Lingvano
  • Device: Desktop computer, iOS, and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases available

Managed by international deaf and hearing communities, Lingvano is one of the best apps for learning American Sign Language. All its teachers are also deaf and are passionate about teaching sign languages.

The free visual-only app offers 10-minute lessons every day and bite-sized lessons specially designed to quickly teach conversational ASL. The videos feature deaf adults only, which allows users to learn to sign from native speakers themselves.

Lingvano also comes with a range of unique features and tools. Its vocabulary trainer, for example, helps you enhance your long-term memory and its sign mirror feature helps you improve your signing skills by allowing you to see what you’re signing.

The app also includes icons to keep track of when you’re learning a new sign. You also get a searchable ASL dictionary, game-style quizzes, and exercises to work on your practical conversation skills.

The best part about the app is that you can use it across all your devices, including your Android smartphone, iOS device, tablet, desktop computer, or laptop. You can also sync your learning progress across all devices you use.

Although Lingvano’s free version has extensive features, you need to subscribe to its premium plan to unlock all its features and content. Its monthly subscription plan costs $17.99.

You can also sign up for its 3-month or 12-month plans if you prefer paying a lumpsum amount at once.

Lingvano also offers similar sign language apps for those who wish to learn Austrian Sign Language or British Sign Language.

5. ASL Dictionary

  • Device: iOS and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Paid

ASL Dictionary is a fantastic app for learning sign language on the go.

This visual-only app has over 5,000 videos that you can download on your iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphone, making it an excellent choice for users with no access to a stable internet connection and allowing them to practice ASL offline, too.

ASL Dictionary also offers other interesting features, including ASL fingerspelling exercises, fun quizzes, a favorites list, and a slow-motion feature.

It also provides a history of the words you played to help you track the signs you’ve already learned. You can also look up specific words easily in the app.

What’s more, ASL Dictionary has a user-friendly and intuitive interface that makes it highly easy to use. It’s a paid app with a one-time fee of $4.99.

6. Baby Sign Language Dictionary

  • Device: iOS
  • Language: American Sign Language, Simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese
  • Price: Paid

Baby Sign Language Dictionary is the perfect app for those who wish to learn baby sign language and communicate with their little ones. This paid app comes with 40 video clips that demonstrate real-life signing.

These handy videos can help you and your baby quickly learn ASL, Simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese.

The app includes detailed video tutorials for each sign. The tutorials are also sorted into categories such as animals, action words, feelings, and daily routines for easy ASL learning.

You can also check out the fun interactive video quiz on this app. It will help you learn and develop basic vocabulary easily and progress in your lessons faster.

The variety of languages available and the easy-to-understand categories make Baby Sign Language Dictionary one of the best iPhone and iPad apps on the market.

7. ACE ASL: Learn Fingerspelling

10. ACE ASL: Learn Fingerspelling
  • Device: iOS and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free

ACE ASL: Learn Fingerspelling is the first AI-based ASL app that offers quick feedback while you learn to sign. It is designed in collaboration with leading linguists, native ASL speakers, and tech experts.

The app’s playful user interface focuses on offering an engaging learning process and is tailored to the needs of different users.

A deaf ASL speaker teaches you letters and digits and guides your learning process. The instructor also prepares you for in-person conversations with a native signer by helping you develop your expressive and receptive skills.

The app allows you to use your dominant hand to sign. You can also use your phone camera to practice the signs and improve your fingerspelling skills. Moreover, you can set practice reminders and take a quiz after each lesson to track your progress. 

You can also experiment with varying difficulty levels and speeds and work your way up from easy to expert mode.

ACE ASL: Learn Fingerspelling is fun and engaging and helps you learn American Sign Language quickly and easily. It is a free app and is ad-free, so you don’t have to deal with annoying ads in between your learning time.

8. ASL Fingerspelling Practice

  • Device: iOS
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free

ASL Fingerspelling Practice is one of the best iPhone and iPad apps out there for beginners.

The app teaches ASL relating to fingerspelling specifically, essentially working as a practice tool to help users improve their ability to understand fingerspelling.

ASL Fingerspelling Practice also allows you to select word lengths from two or more. You can also choose a slow, medium, fast, or expert speed and even record your answers and get scores.

The app does not have ads or notifications, making it highly convenient to use. It is also suitable for deaf children aged nine and above.

9. Marlee Signs

  • Device: iOS
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases available

Academy Award-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin launched the sign language app Marlee Signs for the deaf community.

Through this app, she teaches ASL basics, starting from the ASL alphabet and basic vocabulary and advancing to commonly used phrases and expressions. 

The app has broken down the lessons into easy-to-understand videos. This enables users to learn ASL at their own pace. The video lessons are also accompanied by fingerspelling exercises for easier and faster learning.

The Marlee Signs app also keeps a record of the completed lessons. It even includes a slow-motion option that enables users to watch the videos in greater detail.

The app is free for iOS users but comes with in-app purchases priced at $1.99 each.

10. Hands-On ASL 

10. Hands-On ASL 
  • Device: iOS
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases available

If you want to learn ASL fingerspelling, the Hands-On ASL app might be just what you’re looking for. Its playful user interface focuses on teaching sign languages using 3D model hands rather than images or videos.

This allows you to view signs from every angle. 

The visual-only app also enables you to zoom into and rotate the 3D models for easy viewing. Moreover, it teaches the ASL alphabet with fingerspelling exercises and comes with customized skin colors, too. 

Hands-On ASL also replaces standard ASL lessons with game-style quizzes, which makes it a unique and fun learning tool for those who wish to learn ASL basics.

The free app version includes ads, which may be annoying to some users. So, you can opt for in-app purchases to access more features.

11. ASL Sign Language Pocket Sign

  • Device: iOS and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases available

ASL Sign Language Pocket Sign helps users learn ASL basics through short and fun video lessons, flashcards, and quiz-like exercises.

It also teaches the ASL alphabet and baby sign language. It has a collection of more than 100 videos and around 10,000 ASL dictionary entries.

When you learn a new sign, the ASL Sign Language Pocket Sign app offers a brief description to explain the hand movements of the sign. This helps you learn the correct movements properly and remember them easily.

The app also features commonly used phrases and greetings to help you improve your conversational skills. 

Its free version offers lessons every day. You can also access more features of the app by subscribing to its membership plan at $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

12. ASL Kids – Sign Language

  • Device: iOS and Android
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases available

ASL Kids – Sign Language is a great app for teaching signing and the ASL alphabet to deaf children. The app was developed by a couple whose son had hearing loss.

Their goal was to help their son and other kids learn sign language easily. The app is thus designed so that it can easily be used by kids without an adult’s help. 

The app uses interactive visual material to speed up the learning process. It also features kids from the ages of 1 to 12 who teach 50 free easy-to-learn signs from the ASL dictionary along with baby sign language.

This encourages young users to imitate their peers and learn even faster. 

If you want to get access to more than 150 extra signs and increase your child’s ASL knowledge, you can also buy the optional pack.

Kids can go back to a lesson video and replay it by simply tapping the screen. The large, tappable, and clear images accompanying each hand sign make learning much easier. 

The app is easy to navigate through its intuitive interface and a user-friendly menu and buttons.

It also has an audio button that stimulates speech and hearing and helps kids hear how a word is pronounced. It is also free of complex text and includes fun quizzes.

Moreover, ASL Kids – Sign Language does not have any ads or direct links to social networking websites. Parents can also control and monitor in-app purchases. The app also does not require an internet connection, making it perfect for use by kids.

13. WeSign Basic

  • Device: iOS
  • Language: American Sign Language
  • Price: Free

WeSign Basic is a fantastic app for families of school-going deaf children. This helpful app teaches ASL relating to school specifically.

It teaches parents and other family members of deaf children to ask them common questions about homework and other school-related topics.

It also teaches them different answers to those questions, helping them have healthy conversations with their kids.

Its videos feature deaf adults using signing to communicate with deaf children. This gives users a real-life experience of talking to kids who have hearing loss.

Users can switch between two play speed options — normal and slow. The app also provides additional resources for learning just ASL for those who are interested.

How Do Sign Language Apps Work?

How Do Sign Language Apps Work?

Sign language apps include basic signs, especially those that represent letters, numbers, and common words and phrases.

They usually display images of those signs along with detailed video tutorials that users can watch to practice and learn the signs.

Most sign language apps typically work as an ASL dictionary on which people can look up commonly used phrases and words. They allow you to master American Sign Language (ASL) at your own pace as they commonly offer “bite-sized” lessons. 

Some apps also provide a playful user interface, interactive lessons, and game-style quizzes. These apps tend to be better as they enable users to connect the signs with their meanings faster and improve vocabulary comprehension.

However, keep in mind that most ASL apps usually do not provide regional variations of American Sign Language (ASL) and cannot replace a live ASL translator.

Are Apps Effective for Learning Sign Language?

Are Apps Effective for Learning Sign Language?

Most apps that teach sign languages provide basic signs for standard words and phrases. Such apps can help users learn sign language quickly, even within a few days.

However, more advanced signers may need more advanced signs, which may be lacking in some apps.

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has stated that American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language and that the receiver interprets the signer’s facial expressions and body movements to understand the message fully.

So, images are often enough to show basic signs such as letters and numbers. But, some signs may require certain gestures to convey their meaning fully.

That is why apps with detailed video tutorials may be better and more effective than a visual-only app that has only images and pictures.

The findings of a 2019 study stated that teaching mathematical concepts to young students using sign language apps helped them learn faster than old-school learning methods such as boards and flashcards.

Studies have also found that people find apps more engaging and motivating than books or websites. This same result was found for young hard-of-hearing or deaf people and deaf children’s parents and caregivers.

Another study stated that many younger learners interested in learning sign language prefer studying it via digital formats such as online courses and digital dictionaries. Traditional face-to-face classes were the least favored option by the participants in the study.

Conclusion 

Sign language apps are an affordable and effective solution for the deaf community and those with functional hearing to communicate with each other easily.

It enables those with intermediate or even basic knowledge of ASL to convey their message to other ASL speakers without the help of an ASL translator or interpreter.

Such apps also allow users to learn even when they are on the move. They can use ASL apps to quickly look up a word or phrase and not get stuck while having a conversation.

We hope that our handy guide helps you discover the best app to learn sign language and guides you in your ASL learning process.

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Martin Barrett

Martin is the editor in chief as Edwize.org. He has taken more courses than cares to remember. If he’s not watching back to back documentaries he is geeking out in the E-Learning space.