Learning a new language can be difficult, which is why we often turn to tools like Rosetta Stone to make it easier. Now, those looking to learn American Sign Language have an incredible new resource.
Giphy, the site behind all of those tongue-in-cheek gifs you add to the end of office emails, tweets, and texts with friends, released a new set of 2,000 gifs Thursday morning. Each gif shows how to sign a different word in American Sign Language.
They might not be as sassy as Justin Bieber's Super Bowl Dance, but these gifs serve a greater purpose — helping hearing people better understand and communicate with the deaf community.
"Many people misunderstand the facial expressions of sign language users and think of them as being 'animated' or 'emoting," Hilari Scarl, director and producer at Sign With Robert — the video series the gifs are created from — told Mashable. "Facial expressions are an important part of grammatical information and the linguistic structure of ASL. Facial expressions distinguish between interrogative and declarative sentences, modify adverbs, convey emotional tone, define spatial relationships and much more."
Giphy plans to add to the new gif set in the future, Mashable reports, but the 2,000 words currently available cover everything from animals and food to emotions and colloquial phrases.
If hearing people learn even a few basic signs it could help the deaf community in ways we may never have considered, Scarl told Mashable.
"This not only benefits millions of deaf and hard of hearing Americans who utilize sign language, but also doctors, nurses, police and emergency workers who could save someone's life by knowing a few signs," she told Mashable.