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AppSnap: ASL Dictionary app a handy tool

FARGO - When I learned the man I was dating had a deaf son, I asked a friend and co-worker who signs to teach me a few words. I learned, among other things, "hot dog" and "macaroni and cheese" because those are Jake's favorite foods. Well, it tur...

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ASL Dictionary is a handy tool that’s well worth the $2.99 charge for iPhone users. Special to The Forum

FARGO – When I learned the man I was dating had a deaf son, I asked a friend and co-worker who signs to teach me a few words.
I learned, among other things, “hot dog” and “macaroni and cheese” because those are Jake’s favorite foods.
Well, it turns out there are several different ways to say “hot dog” in sign language.
As my relationship with my boyfriend and his son grew, I started using ASL Dictionary to improve my American Sign Language. It’s a handy tool that’s well worth the $2.99 charge for iPhone users.
Two and a half years later, that boyfriend is now my husband and his son is now my stepson. My sign-language skills are improving, but I still use the dictionary to help “translate” some of Jake’s “home signs” (slang) and to add to our vocabulary.
The database of 5,200 words and phrases is quickly accessible in a moment of confusion. You can search the dictionary or browse its categories, like “Money,” “Time” and “Dates.”
The interpreter, dressed in black against a black background so your eyes focus on her hands, clearly demonstrates each word or phrase. You can replay each video as often as you like, slow them down or loop them.
I have two complaints about ASL Dictionary:
Certain words I’ve wanted to use are missing from the dictionary, though I know some American English words simply aren’t used in ASL, and if I really want to use them, I can finger-spell them.
Also, the interpreter’s face remains emotionless in most of her videos, whereas most people who sign are very expressive, which helps convey the meaning of their words.
Regardless, ASL Dictionary has helped me and my family and better equips me to communicate with other deaf people I encounter, and it would do the same for others like us.

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