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The Joy of Signing: The Illustrated Guide for Mastering Sign Language and the Manual Alphabet
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The Joy of Signing: The Illustrated Guide for Mastering Sign Language and the Manual Alphabet

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  225 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Teaches sign language in senteces rather than individual words. Includes graphic drawings, index, and sadditional learning tools.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 1st 1987 by Gospel Publishing House (first published January 1st 1978)
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Lisa Vegan
Mar 09, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to learn ASL-American Sign Language
I read through this many times when I first got it. It was by far the best resource for learning some American Sign Language. Of course, since I’ve had nobody to practice with or converse with for over 20 years, I’ve forgotten all I’d learned. But I still have the book and it remains a helpful reference book.
Jun 28, 2013 Cheryl added it
Good clear reference set up like a dictionary. I was all set to start to learn sign because my (not deaf) child didn't want to talk, and the experts thought maybe he'd rather sign for 'up' 'milk' and 'hug' - but then he finally decided to talk and hasn't stopped since.
Bailey Jane
Dec 27, 2008 Bailey Jane rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: professors,speech pathologists,audiologists,hearing impaired,relatives of hearing impaired
Recommended to Bailey Jane by: professors
This is the EASIEST book if you're wishing to learn ASL. It was what we used in college and it really does make the language simple (or as simple as it can be for a beginner) and fun to understand. A total must for the "communication disorders" major in all of us.
This book pieces together sentences for you somewhat. It is a help if you aren't sure how to really put together words but if you are trying to learn then a dictionary is more useful. I did go through this several times to see just how some stuff works. This is more of a bonus learning book though rather than something you want to rely heavily on. If you want to learn sign language though then I suggest you try several different books. This one is a decent one for sentence structure.

Happy Readi...more
anca dc
I received this book as a gift while I was in high-school. That was the time when I started to be interested in deaf people and their sign language. At that time I was dreaming of starting to be involved in the small community of deaf people from my town but, against the fact that I tried, it didn't lead anywhere. Since than I kindda of abandoned this dream but the desire to have some kind of connection with death people, to enter in their world was still deep down in my heart. Starting with thi...more
This sign language reference book has occupied a spot on my shelves for over 20 years. It is set up similar to a dictionary, with chapters where related signs are grouped together. There is also a large index at the back of the book to enable the user to easily look up a specific sign, and the illustrations for each sign are well drawn and easy to understand. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in learning the basics of sign language.
Went to a sign language class with the family and enjoyed it so much that I bought the Joy of Signing. My granddaughter and I had a great time learing new words and also taught ourselves how to do the Our Father. I've always liked shorthand and signing but have never spent the time it takes to make me profecient at either one. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. A little knowledge is better than none at all.
I think this book is a must have for anyone who is learning or wants to learn sign language. It is so easy to look up any word. The words are grouped by categories, and the illustrations are easy to understand. I have never become a pro at sign language like I wanted to about 20 years ago when I was a teenager, but sometimes I still look up words and figure out how to sign things!
This is a great book to learn sign language from; the illustrations are clear and well-explained, including origins of the signs to help you remember them. Instead of being grouped alphabetically, the signs are grouped by subject, such as people, pronouns, household, etc, so that you can get a sense of the similarites between related signs.
Great for starters, but very outdated. I recently took a sign language class and started getting involved with the deaf community. Two of our very close friends have corrected me on several occasions with new and updated signs...including "Underwear". Yes, you can imagine how embarrased I was.
Feb 28, 2009 Mario added it
Extremely Helpful- A Must Needs!: Anyone involved in or interested in sign language, I highly recommend you purchase this book. I am involved in a sign team at our church & this book has been very helpful in looking up signs to our songs. It is a GREAT learning tool!
Suzanne Stewart
This book is a good combination of many signs although somewhat outdated now, it's still a good collection of sign language. It's not a true ASL book or anything but if you need to look up a sign, it's usually in there..
I do like this book.

It is separated by different categories. Not by handshape, but by subject. Family. Food. You get it. Helpful for learning signs that relate to each other.
Marts  (Thinker)
Jul 21, 2011 Marts (Thinker) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone in need of acquiring the sign language skill
This is a wonderful guide to learning the sign language art, however, I'm by no means a practitioner of it... I've always enjoyed perusing the volume though...
Hilary Dawson
Mar 12, 2012 Hilary Dawson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hilary by: Sarah Wainscott
Recommended to me by my sister & her husband (a sign-language interpreter). Working to build my sign skills in time for the arrival of my new niece.
I had this book for years but gave to someone who would use it. Never got it back .. that okay. This book helps .
Many signs are outdated. The book is well organized and lovely but it is in desperate need of a revision.
Completed class with an "A". Recommend the class at Atlantic Cape, learned a lot and had fun.
I am so consumed by my sign language class that I have not read a real book since joy luck club!!
This is a great book to learn the basics of Sign Language. Any beginner should have a copy.
A great beginners guide to ASL! I would highly recommend it to anyone just starting out.
Great for reference but hard to find individual words.
Really like it helped me alot to learn sign language
Its a little inaccurate... But it still helped me learn! :D
Excellent reference guide. Highly recommended.
Jan 04, 2011 Cristen is currently reading it
another book i use for my songs
Kathryn Bauss
Reference for story time signing.
Janet Willmann
Excellent book for the beginner!
awesome.. will use it a lot
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