NTID's First-Of-A-Kind ASL Dictionary Now Available

Follow RITNEWS on Twitter A revolutionary American Sign Language dictionary developed by the renowned National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology, is now available on CD for both Windows and Mac users.

The ASL Video Dictionary and Inflection Guide is the first and only product that links thousands of signs to sentences illustrating how the signs change, a critical feature because of the ways that ASL signs change-or inflect-from sentence to sentence to show different meanings. For example, changes in the movement of the sign for "help" can cause the sign to mean help him, help them, help me, help him for a long time, etc.

"The American Sign Language Video Dictionary and Inflection Guide is a much needed resource for ASL students," said Nancy J. Bloch, executive director of the National Association of the Deaf. "Many signs have more than one variation, and the signed sentences show how such variations can be applied. Kudos to the NTID team for this wonderful and educational tool."

Users have access to 2,700 signs and English equivalents; 2,000 of them are linked to at least one of 650 sentences that demonstrate inflections, among many other features that add a variety of functions. Some 1,000 of the signs are grouped by meaning into 26 categories. In addition, each sign is shown with a list of confusingly similar signs, so users can easily click to compare the difference. Users can also choose to view the video in normal or slow speed, as well as choose to see both the ASL sentences and their written English translations simultaneously, or one at a time. An on-line text describes ASL inflection and sentence structure, with links to video examples.

"Learning isolated signs from regular dictionaries is just the beginning of learning how the signs work in real use," said Geoff Poor, project director and NTID professor. "This dictionary clearly shows the inflections in sentences to help users gain a true understanding of American Sign Language, not just a list of its vocabulary."

Families of deaf children, teachers and school staff, deaf people improving their English, interpreting students, and anyone who wants to learn ASL are potential users of this new dictionary, Poor said.

Major funding for this project was provided by FIPSE (Funds for Improvement of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. The Pforzheimer Foundation and the Gannett Foundation provided additional funding. The cost is $50. To order, go to http://www.rit.edu/ntid/dig, or call RIT's bookstore, Campus Connections at 585.475.2504 (voice) or 585.475.7071 (tty).

For more information contact Poor at dig@rit.edu.

The first and largest technological college in the world for students who are deaf and hard of hearing, NTID, one of eight colleges of RIT, offers educational programs and access and support services to 1,100 students from around the world who study, live and socialize with 14,000 hearing students on the RIT campus. Web address: www.rit.edu/NTID.