Put yourself in our hands…


It would be remiss if an organization founded on the idea of building
connections between communities did not acknowledge that the United
States finds itself in a reportedly divided time, as is often the case
during Presidential Election years. Yet, it would be equally
irresponsible to chime in with opinions. That is not what we are here
for. ASLdeafined is here to to do as we have always said, bring
“Education … One Sign At A Time.”

We think “education” not only means spreading American Sign Language,
expanding cultural understanding, and supporting the Deaf. That phrase
also includes doing our part to make the world a more inclusive place.
What better way to start understanding differences and learning
similarities with others than learning their language? Although most
speak of that as “putting yourself in another’s shoes” for a while, we
look at it as putting yourself in our hands – literally!

ASLdeafined.com was founded by Paul Fugate, a caring sign language
educator with decades of experience working as a professional
interpreter, actively engaging with members of the Deaf Community. Yet,
even with his extensive experience, Paul knew that for ASLdeafined to be
authentic, it was important that Deaf individuals play a vital role in
the business. Subsequently, you will find that our content is not
delivered by hearing individuals, but Deaf Experts. We hope you will get
to know them as you navigate through the videos during your learning. It
is decisions like this that we hope demonstrate one way that humans can
make the world a warmer, more welcoming place… one act at a time.

We hope you take a step toward the same by the meaningful act of
learning a new way to communicate, because, as Howard Zinn once said,
“The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we
think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around
us, is itself a marvelous victory.”  (full quote included below).

“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based
on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but
also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to
emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see
only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember
those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved
magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the
possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different
direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to
wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession
of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in
defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
― Howard Zinn (historian, playwright, activist)

ASLdeafined.com New Features and Deaf Experts!

I am thrilled to tell you about some major upgrades to ASLdeafined.com that happened August 15, 2016.

ASLdeafined has been undergoing an “Extreme” makeover during the exhaustive past four months.  These changes are now live.  The results are spectacular, and I am very pleased to share this announcement with you.  I want to invite you to review the results, as some of these changes are simply spectacular, designed for your optimum learning experience.

One of the most important changes features an all-Deaf instructional team executing the signs.  I solicited the help of the Deaf community to share their skills and knowledge to produce these awesome video lessons.  You will relish the opportunity to get to know these 6 amazing Deaf individuals.  In addition to this change, check out some of the additional changes, and information below:

What new additions will you see on ASLdeafined.com?

  • Four distinct levels (you will see the level tags under lessons)
  • Sign variations in the dictionary, just under the synonyms
  • Handshape reinforcement
  • Handshape category feature
  • Grammar instruction and activities
  • Expressive section with English and ASL translations
  • Double the number of lessons.
  • 15,000 + words video dictionary
  • Exposure to 6 Deaf experts
  • Deaf jokes
  • Receptive skills challenges
  • Classifier lessons
  • Handshape lessons
  • Exceptional School Discount Program
  • Full site free trial

Here is what hasn’t changed on ASLdeafined.com:

  • Theme Lessons
  • Post-Lesson Retention Exercises
  • Immediate Activity Scores and Feedback
  • Individualized Progress Chart (Progress monitoring made easy)  
  •  Personalized Dashboard
  • Fingerspelling
  • Customizable Vocabulary List
  • Concept Words (Multiple Meaning Words)
  •  Information on Deaf Culture
  • ASL Grammar
  • Discounts for schools / teachers
  • Track student’s progress (for teachers)

I would like to personally invite you back to ASLdeafined.com, to see all of our new features.  You will be thrilled at the changes we’ve made, along with many additions to enhance your skill level in ASL.

If you have any questions, please let me know.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kindest regards,

Paul Fugate

Founder of ASLdeafined.com


Are You Up-To-Date?


This vintage biography by Etta Degering, entitled GALLAUDET, Friend of the Deaf, may quite rightfully be judged by its cover. The obviously outdated design and condition of this book, first published in 1964, is unlikely to interest the modern reader. We are featuring it in our blog post today as an analogy for those who may be interested in Deaf Culture. If you have found our Web site, are reading this or following our program, etc. we hope that is you, because sign language does not live in isolation, but is a vital part of world culture.

Sure, the information in this book may not have changed much since it is a look at Gallaudet, who passed away in the 1851. Yet, who knows what information may have since come to light about this pivotal person in Deaf history? Even if nothing too new has been discovered, it is irresponsible to ignore the changes in the literary audience over the years.

Just as book publishers need to stay in touch with the pulse of humanity, it would be equally irresponsible for someone interested in making connections with the Deaf Community to overlook the ever-changing nature of the world and how it has impacted Deaf Culture. It is important to remember that Deaf Culture is as rich and vibrant as any other on earth, and deserves respect and attention. Deaf people do not live in a vacuum and should not have to bear the brunt of stereotypes from the past. Those outside Deaf Culture have a responsibility to be a part of the movement to foster better understanding.

We live in a world where information is coming at us rapidly in many different forms. As politicians, pundits and people on the street push for our attention with flashy sound bytes, it can become overwhelming at times to dissect the onslaught of messages and get to the truth. That is why it is more important than ever for people learn to be sensitive to the experience of others and find ways to authentically engage with fellow human beings.

Whatever else we may hope to accomplish, that is a main driving force for the creation of ASLdeafined.com. We sincerely believe that if you want to get to what is real in this world, go to the source. What better way to do so in this case than to take an important step toward communicating with Deaf individuals by learning American Sign Language?

If you want to know more about Gallaudet, you might read a (more recent 🙂 ) biography. If you want to better understand Deaf Culture and what life is like for a Deaf individual in the 21st Century, simply taking the time to have a conversation seems like a great start. That is why we are here to share our thoughts and encourage discussions about important topics surrounding the Deaf Community, bridging the gap between the Deaf and the hearing… One Sign At A Time.

What will you do today to bridge that gap?

Running Out of Time

It is a rare day in this modern world when we feel like we actually have some spare time. Many attribute it to the fact that the lines between work and leisure are blurred with the increase in portable technologies that always leave us on call in a way. This can be both a positive and a negative. Sure, it is convenient to have the ability to take care of personal and professional business on the go. On the other hand, you can begin to feel like the hamster on the wheel who just keeps going around and around but never truly stops long enough to take anything in.

For those of us at ASLdeafined, we see how this can both help and hinder your sign language learning. If you have a few minutes to fill you might be inspired to learn a new ASL word or continue your progress with one of our lessons. Then again, you might just want to let your mind rest a minute between other tasks. We see both perspectives and strive to create content that can fit varying needs in this fast-paced world. The main thing we hope you take away from it is a sense of fun and accomplishment.

So you didn’t find the time you thought you would to move forward in your learning this week? Give yourself a break. There is always time to learn something new. Try not to let your goals guilt you into stopping completely. If necessary, just readjust! We are here to support you in any way we can, even if it is just cheering you on when you feel rushed.

For additional reading on How To Find More Time, consider clicking on the title and reading a New York Times opinion piece on the topic.


Follow the Sun

Starting to learn a new skill or revisiting one that is rusty can become overwhelming. Whether you have decided to tap dance, take up the piano, do some woodworking or learn American Sign Language, there are times when you will likely feel stalled.

David Foster Wallace, author of Infinite Jest, wrote an interesting article about reaching plateaus in the learning process. Wallace pulls from a variety of references to share three suggested ways to overcome these inevitable plateaus:

  1. Stick With It
  2. Practice Deliberately
  3. Embrace Discomfort

We appreciated how he shared this thought during the introduction of his piece,

The journey of improvement is not a linear progression where one success builds upon the next. Rather, “you proceed toward mastery through a series of plateaus, so there’s radical improvement up to a certain plateau and then what looks like a stall.”

CLICK HERE if you would like to read the entire article.

At ASLdeafined, we couldn’t agree more! When challenging your mind and body to master a task, perseverance is one of the most important keys to success, but you should expect and forgive yourself during those times when you naturally slow down. Practice is of course known to be of great value, and that is particularly true when working through the sometimes complicated aspects of ASL. Lastly, it is OK to feel uncertain when exploring new territory. Part of an enriching experience is that sense of uneasiness that comes when you take the risk of diving your brain into something new. In fact, we tend to believe that those difficult moments are often when your mind is doing its hardest work!

We are here to remind you that although you may run into some cloudy weather along the way, ASLdeafined exists to support you and help focus your energies on the ever popular pie in the sky… or, in this case, we suggest you set your sights on the sun, take the plunge and join (or reunite) with the unique and talented individuals across the globe that communicate through sign language. We’ll always be here to throw you a life line! Continue reading

Fly the ASL Flag!

We couldn’t agree more with Fellini! Language is a different vision of life – quite literally in the case of sign language. Anyone exposed to the beauty of ASL does not easily forget this unique and vital form of communication. So, our post today is just a friendly reminder that Amercian Sign Language deserves its own respected spot in the wide array of world languages.

Those of us at ASLdeafined sincerely hope you take a moment to appreciate that it is not only an important means of interaction for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and other populations, but in many ways, it is an art form.

Our company strongly believes that everyone has a right to be invited to the conversation! We hope you join us in our effort to build connections through language, and help make the world a more inclusive place… One Sign At A Time.



What’s for lunch today?

How about a side of American Sign Language?

In case you weren’t already aware, ASLdeafined offers an extensive video vocabulary!

If subscribing to one of our lesson packages isn’t quite what you are looking for on the menu today, consider gaining access to our 15,000+ word dictionary for only $6/month! This allows new learners the opportunity to test the ASL buffet, or those who have gotten rusty in their skills the chance to grab a wordy snack to get them back on track. You can also customize your list and replay it as needed to solidify your learning. Our service includes synonyms as well, which can sometimes be challenging in sign language.

We strive to keep things current, so the dictionary is constantly being updated. Subsequently, we encourage you to contact us at [email protected] with any suggestions you have for words you would like to see included. You can also reach us on Twitter, Facebook and Linked by searching ASLdeafined.

We hope you choose a sweet  ASL treat for dessert today.

You’ve made it past Monday, you deserve it! 


The Weekend is on The Way!

The weekend is on the way! Hopefully that means a chance for you to spend some quality time with your family and friends, young and old and in-between. We bet you won’t be surprised if we suggest that you bond over some sign language learning!

It has been said that children tend to learn languages much easier than adults. Perhaps if you and a little one cuddle up to a laptop over the next few days they could teach you to say something new in American Sign Language before things take off again on Monday.

Do you work on weekends? No fear. Take some time for yourself on your break and add interest to the conversations on the job by adding some signs to your repertoire.

Trust us, it will be fun!

A mother and child surf the internet.

Learn something new with a little one this weekend!



Don’t Leave Your Learning Out To Dry…

It is a sunny day in our home base of Metro Detroit, Michigan… a perfect time to let your laundry dry on the line. That said, it is not the best idea to leave your American Sign Language learning out to dry. Just like anylanguage, ASL requires practice, so this is a colorful reminder to do some language laundry and check out ASLdeafined.com today whether you are just starting out, or a seasoned interpreter needing to do a wash.




What is ASLdeafined about?

Education. Communication. Connection. Inclusion.

ASLdeafined was founded on the simple philosophy that learning American Sign Language (ASL) is a rewarding way for people to exercise their brain, improve communication with others, make connections with new people and, most importantly, take another step toward a more inclusive world.

If you have ever seen ASL in action, there is no denying that it is a beautiful language, and like other languages, it deserves our respect and attention.

ASLdeafined has been committed to educating people interested in learning this unique and vital form of communication for 8 years now. Today we are more determined than ever to take things up a notch and better support the variety of populations we serve… the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ASL programs in K-12 public and private schools, college and university interpreters-in-trainingcompanies or organizations looking to foster a more thoughtful culture – and beyond!

We recognize that every business claims this in their own way, but we hope you know just how sincerely and strongly we feel about improving the lives of our subscribers. ASLdeafined heartily welcomes any individuals interested in learning ASL for any reason. It is just as important to us to provide challenging materials for advanced learners as it is to encourage beginners.

So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of our FREE 3-day trial or dive right in with one of our currently discounted subscriptions. We look forward to seeing what you have to say!