What Is Up With Home ASL Courses?

I'm a hearing person who would like to learn sign language. ASL seems the obvious choice, since I live in the US. Google seems to think that between 500K and 2M people in the US speak it.

So why is it so incredibly hard to get language learning material for home study for ASL that isn't completely awful? A book, or serious of books, is out of the question: no serious spoken language learning system expects you to learn without ever hearing the language. Similarily, learning ASL without seeing the signs seems pointless.

So. Ask Google for learning courses for any major language, and you're innundated by taped courses, software, etc, etc. Try finding a decently comprehensive ASL video course. Like, one that'll teach you more than a couple hundred words.

It's hard.

Why is it so hard?

If you know of something decent, please send me an email.

Some things I've found, all of which seem ridiculously insufficient:

  • There's a bunch of videos on Amazon by the same pair of people, but there's no organization there. It's nothing like a language learning course; it's just a series of videos.
  • Rocket Sign Language seems decent, but it's just the one package; given the table of contents, I can't imagine it's more than a couple of hundred words.
  • SignOnline is actually about the best I've seen. 4 courses, 15-20 hours each, 200 signs each. I've gotta say, though, that 800 words for $200 is pretty intensely expensive, but that's not even the problem: the course stops there. A functional English vocabulary is, what, 10K words? I've no idea what a functional ASL vocab is, but still... Not so good.
  • ASL University Online at least as good as SignOnline, and it's awesome that someone has done this online for free, but we're talking about 30 lessons, with maybe 25 signs a lesson. Looks like the total vocab is around 800 words, and again, you're done.


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