You may have heard of the popular website Urban Dictionary, which explains terms in popular culture such as "Netflix and chill," "bae," and "spill the tea." While speakers of verbal language are able to indulge in the humor of using these newfound words and phrases, there is a lack of knowledge that users of sign language do the same.
My thesis is a visual archive of some of the most popular lingo young people use today, only in ASL (American Sign Language). Presented in the form of a mobile app, it is complete with definitions, animations, and instructions to help people learn and sign each word. Through this project, I am exploring the way sign language evolves in the same way other languages do. With no comprehensive source on the internet that details ASL slang, my goal is to bring awareness to this living language by showing people how exciting, expressive, and current ASL can be.
If ASL is a dynamic, living language, then I believe that the way we share this language should be accessible beyond the textbook pages of a sign language dictionary. Therefore, I have also designed my project to be shareable across platforms in the form of Instagram and iMessage stickers. Suddenly, the linguistic world of these hearing users expands beyond the limits of verbal communication to encompass expressions they can share with the Deaf community— and hopefully will increase their interest and willingness to learn sign language.