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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I can't believe this is billed as a book you'd give a beginner who was learning ASL. I thought at first there must be a DVD somewhere to go along with the dialogues, but apparently, there isn't - so you're on your own with what is a fairly dense and complicated book about a fairly unusual and complicated language.

Definitely not the place to start your studies.

So why am I giving it four stars?
Because it's a GREAT book for me to pick up now. After four courses in person plus the Signing Naturally text plus DVD, I was ready for something that would help me jump to the next level, ie ASL grammar and classifiers. And this book is better than anything else I've seen for those two things, if nothing else.

Most people approach ASL from a "vocabulary" perspective - with a dictionary, a phrasebook, wordlist, etc. That's great for starting out, but not so good as you begin wanting to have more complex conversations where pure vocabulary won't fill in gaps like tense and more in-depth inflected forms of verbs. (If all you want is nouns, a word book is great!)

This book takes a different approach, presenting ASL grammar, in the form of basic sentence-types, first, right up front. It also presents very helpful information about facial expression, body shifting and other non-verbal components of ASL communication, along with valuable information about deaf culture - though I've known some deaf people who'd disagree with some of the information.

(for instance, they state unequivocally that anyone with hearing can never be part of the "Deaf" community (capital D), whereas I've heard elsewhere that CODAs (children of deaf parents) and some other hearing individuals may indeed be considered part of that community and culture)

As I mentioned, I'm now wrapping up my fourth course in ASL - Units 1-10 in Signing Naturally, which is a harder and more comprehensive text in some ways, but which has not so far provided as much of a rigourous and comprehensive overview of grammar and has also so far made little or no specific mention of the classifiers which can literally make up 90% of an ASL conversation!

With some experience and background in ASL, this book will help intermediate students take the vocabulary and other concepts they've learned to the next level - a level where they're actually able to carry on natural conversations using genuine ASL grammar.

I certainly wish it came with a DVD, but I found the images fairly clear (better than some I've seen) and have been able to make my way through it without assistance now that I'm fairly confident with my own (limited) abilities. But again, I wouldn't have been able to do that as a beginner, so go elsewhere for a beginner book... and then come back to this one!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2010
I have been using ASL the Easy way for 4 years now in my sign language classroom - both in high school and the college level. Along with a website signingonline.com , it is ALL you need to learn sign langauge. It explains everything a students needs to know about Deaf culture and includes tons of easy to read signs. I did some research, and the author who wrote this book, also founded the website I use, signingonline.com . Do yourself a favor, and if you are looking to learn ASL - check out the website and purchase this book !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2011
I study ASL through ASLU, as well as a few deaf friends, and had already started studying before buying this book. It was mainly going to be used for reference when i was not at a computer or internet. Becuase of the importance of hand motion and facial expressions in sign language the book of course is going to be difficult to learn that from with each word. For someone only just wanting to learn a few words or get the idea, yes it can be a good guide. To learn from it ? No, in order to learn ASL properly and not confuse someone who is deaf as to what you are trying to say it is not the book to start with or the only thing to use for learning. The best free website put together by a professor at ASLU with video lessons and actually seeing examples of words being done by someone is at Lifeprint.com . You can also use ASLpro.com for video reference as to see how each word is done and both sites have a complete dictionary to look up words and visually see them being done by actual person. The book is great to have on the side to reflect back on and reference when not at your PC, but not to learn right from the start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2011
While this was a required text for the class that I am taking, it would be very easy for someone to follow who is just exploring or starting to learn about American Sign Language on their own. I greatly appreciate the size of the font which makes for easy reading; the clarity in how it is written which allows for easy understanding and comprehension; the index for ease in locating vocab; practice activities; review questions and the inclusion of information regarding the history of ASL and the Deaf community and culture.

As the modeled pictures/demonstrations for words/phrases are flat, the directional arrows showing movement are very helpful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
The next best thing would to turn this book into a DVD format.

The illustrations are excellent but lacks the movement that is crucial for ASL. We are immersed in an ASL group and language class so we find it an exceptional aid in understanding the language and deaf culture. A deaf person recommended this book to us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2010
Textbook was delivered within a few days and was in perfect condition. This is a great book if you are beginning to learn ASL. Detailed pictures and wording are helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book has one big advantage over "dictionary" style signing books, namely that it uses the word order that signers do, with guides to the logic of the language AND notes on culture. I was disappointed in the graphics, though, and in fact had to go to "Joy of Signing" many times for better explanations (this book uses only pictures, "Joy" adds descriptions and explanations--"how" is explained "as if turning seams up to see the inside edges"). I think it's very necessary to prepare for the next stage of learning the language from real people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2007
I got this book because of the reviews, and the fact that my daughter is deaf. I'm really impressed with the way everything is drawn out, and put into detail. I've told alot of people about this book because it shows alot of signs...as well as describes how to sign in "ASL" terms. It is kinda wierd, cause ASL is "backwards" from the standard English that we speak. But I'm enjoying learning it anywayz. I HIGHLY recommend this book. Anyone who gets it, I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. It's made learning ASL so much better!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I have not gotten that far in the book yet but have noticed from the beginning that this book goes into detail that most do not. I am not a teacher but this book explains how signs are understood. For instance, some things are automatically understood when a sign is done a certain way. The book explains how to "read-between-the-lines". This book gives information about those who need sign language, the deaf. I am excited to embark on new discoveries based on this new language to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2007
I took a class in ASL, and in the class, this book was used. It was a really great book, and if you are a beginner or expert, this book is bound to be very helpful. It's a really good book, and helped all of us (in the class) because our teacher was deaf, which is a little besides the point, but we had to rely on our books even more. Everything in this book was very accurate and exrememly helpful. I really recommend this book!
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