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Signing For Dummies®

ISBN: 978-0-7645-5436-0
384 pages
June 2003
Signing For Dummies® (0764554360) cover image


American Sign Language (ASL) is something we've all seen Deaf people use in restaurants, hospitals, airports, and throughout the marketplace. The communication is fascinating to watch; to see people sharing ideas by using handshapes and body language is remarkable in a world so defined by sound.

Signing For Dummies gives you a general understanding of the properties of Sign, as well as an understanding of Deaf culture. Designed to act as an introduction or a refresher, the book focuses solely on ASL. Although certainly not the only form of Sign Language, ASL is the most popular in the Deaf community within the United States.

Categorized by subject, this illustrated guide covers grammar and sentence structure, along with the tools to get you going in basic conversation by knowing how to

  • Introduce and greet people
  • Ask questions and make small talk
  • Order food and chat with salespeople
  • Handle medical emergencies
  • Talk on the phone
  • Get around town for fun or business

Although "speaking" American Sign Language (ASL) is mostly a matter of using your fingers, hands, and arms, facial expression and body language are important and sometimes crucial for understanding Signs and their meaning. Signing For Dummies gets the whole body into the action as the fun-to-read resource explores

  • Signs that look like what they mean
  • Expression of emotions and feelings
  • Signing sports and weather
  • Compass points conversations: Getting or giving directions
  • Descriptions of where it hurts
  • Deaf community customs, norms, and culture

Each chapter throughout the book invites you to practice specific Signs in a "Fun & Games" section. Translation guides complement the video CD-ROM, which features demonstrations by ASL Signers and actual conversations in progress – all designed to have you moving your hands, body, and face to convey meaning that reaches way beyond linguistic barriers.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Signing On to Sign.

Chapter 1: Finding Out That You Already Know a Little Sign.

Chapter 2: Digging into Grammar and Numbers.

Part II: ASL in Action.

Chapter 3: Introductions and Greetings.

Chapter 4: Getting to Know You: Asking Questions and Making Small Talk.

Chapter 5: Food: The Whole Enchilada.

Chapter 6: Shopping Made Easy.

Chapter 7: The Signer About Town.

Chapter 8: Enjoying Yourself Come Rain or Shine.

Chapter 9: Home and Office.

Part III: Signing On the Go.

Chapter 10: Asking Directions and Getting Around.

Chapter 11: Here’s to Your Health.

Part IV: Looking into Deaf Life.

Chapter 12: The Deaf Way.

Chapter 13: Deaf Etiquette.

Chapter 14: Talking on the Phone.

Part V: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 15: Ten Tips to Help You Sign like a Pro.

Chapter 16: Ten Ways to Pick Up Sign Quickly.

Chapter 17: Ten Popular Deaf Expressions.

Part VI: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Answer Key to Fun & Games.

Appendix B: About the CD.


Wiley Publishing, Inc. End-User License Agreement.

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Author Information

Adan R. Penilla, II is President of the Colorado Registry of Interpreters, Pikes Peak Affiliate. He has his NAD IV interpreting certification and his legal qualification. In 1995, he was an interpreter at the World Federation of the Deaf in Vienna and is currently teaching ASL at Trinidad State Junior College. He has written an ASL Quick Study Bar Chart and WW II for the Deaf. He lectures on Sign language throughout the United States and is currently working on his PhD. 

Angela Lee Taylor is the Interpreter Coordinator at the Colorado Springs School for the Deaf and Blind. She was born deaf and is a native of Dixon, Illinois. Taylor graduated from Illinois School for the Deaf in 1985 and later received her bachelor's degree from Gallaudet University in 1997. During the past five years, Taylor has taught ASL for Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind, and the community. Taylor has annually coordinated for the statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Symposium for four years running. She is a tutor for the shared Reading Project (SRP) and is also involved with ASLTAC. Taylor resides in Pueblo, Colorado.

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CD Updates
Please note: The CD does not require a sound card and sound is not intended on this CD. The system requirements in the appendix and in the CD-ROMs readme.txt are incorrect.
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