Free American Sign Language Lessons

ASL 3 – Unit 10

Interpreting Songs in ASL

In this unit of the free American Sign Language lessons, you will be learning how to interpret songs in ASL.

Interpreting Songs in ASL

One of the most fun ways to use ASL is in the interpretation of songs. Songs interpreted into ASL aren’t used very often in the Deaf community–they are more popular with the hearing and hard-of-hearing ASL crowd–but it is a wonderful and fun way to practice and “show off” your ASL skills. I do know that some members of the Deaf community appreciate song interpretations and I know there are a lot of ASL students interested in this topic, so I thought I would include it in this curriculum.

There are a few different ways to interpret songs (like using PSE, Signed Exact English, etc.), but the ASL style is what mostly fits the goals of this class.

When you are interpreting a song into ASL, you need to deeply analyze the song. You need to determine the true meaning of the song and the meaning of the lyrics, and sign that. When interpreting English into ASL, you need to interpret meaning and not just the words and this is no different.

It’s also good to use signs in such a way to create smoothness and beauty with the song, so that may influence your interpretation as well.

Interpreting Songs in ASL Practice 10.1

Turn to page 18 in your workbook. In the video below, Crystal will sign “The Star Spangled Banner”. Watch the video through the first time so you can get an idea of how ASL songs are interpreted. Notice how Crystal has changed the form of some signs to create smoothness and match the tone and interpretation of the song. Then in your workbook, you will see the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” and a line underneath. Write the ASL gloss of the interpretation of the song for those lyrics. The first one has been done for you.

Check your answers in the back of the workbook and review the questions you missed. Then, go back and sign the song with Crystal. I suggest memorizing it too! It’s very fun knowing that you know how to sign a whole song in ASL. You can check out more songs in ASL on our Best Songs in Sign Language page!

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