Learning American Sign Language: For Beginners


A language is more than just its words. A language is nuances of the body and regard (and sometimes disregard) for that language’s rules of structure and grammar. This is still true when it comes to American Sign Language, or ASL, a nonverbal language.

In order to learn these nuances, you have a wide variety of options. To begin your journey, you can take a course in a physical classroom, an online classroom, or you could self-teach or utilize a website.

Our Top Pick For Learning ASL

Learn American Sign Language!

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Some websites, such as Rocket Languages, can provide you with structure, privacy, and videos to help make your learning of ASL as easy as possible.

Learning American Sign Language in the Classroom

From high school to college, to community centers, there are many places you can go to sign up for classes to learn American Sign Language.

Learning in a physical classroom can provide you immediate access to teachers and peers who can help you when you are confused or need clarification.

Most likely, these classes will be very structured in nature. You will move from the simplest concepts to the most difficult.

Of course, a disadvantage that comes with this path of learning is that you will find yourself in the middle of a classroom. That isn’t everyone’s best learning environment.

Learning American Sign Language Online

As the ever developing digital element of our lives continues to grow, it can provide new avenues of learning.


Videos can be very helpful when you are trying to learn a second language.

Especially for a very visual language like American Sign Language, being able to see someone communicate in the language is ideal.

If you are an audible learner, videos may be particularly helpful for you. If you go to a common video hosting site, like Youtube, you are likely to find a lot of helpful videos. Many video posters also say the word while they sign it.

One downside of these types of videos is that there can be a lot of information that isn’t really helpful or beneficial. For example, someone on Youtube will introduce and conclude their videos. Technical difficulties can also mean periods of time without any info provided.

Whichever route you take to learning American Sign Language, definitely include videos of people singing in your studies.

If you enjoy watching people cover your favorite songs, you might be able to find a video of someone signing the lyrics. A lot of signers will post videos of themselves signing their own favorite songs.


Websites like Rocket Languages can be a great way to learn a language in the comfort of your home.

Especially if you are someone who feels uncomfortable making mistakes in front of other people, learning through a website could be a great option for you.

Many websites will actually also include videos alongside photographs, pictures, or gifs of the hand gestures and movements.

The downside is that there aren’t always people you can connect with on the websites if you have a question. This means you then have to commit extra times to going and seeking the answer elsewhere.

Online Classes

Online classes combine some of the benefits of a classroom with the benefits of learning online.

This kind of learning can offer varying degrees of intimacy, depending on the setup of the classes. Some class hosts are very hands on with teaching you the content. Others, on the other hand, provide you the structure of a class but are designed to be very independent.

A disadvantage of this learning option is that it definitely isn’t for everyone. Some people feel a disconnect with the content when they take online classes.

Learning American Sign Language One-On-One

Maybe you are trying to learn American Sign Language because you have someone in your life who is audibly impaired.

If this is the case, reach out to this person for help learning American Sign Language. Having someone right there to practice with will make learning the language easier.

And if this other person is also just learning American Sign Language, you can help keep each other motivated. Help each other learn to communicate in this new way.


You have many options for learning American Sign Language. From videos to websites to online classes to physical classrooms and even those you are close to…you can pick the learning tool that works the best for you.

Our Top Pick For Learning ASL

Learn American Sign Language!

Learn More