Giphy has recently released a collection of GIFs featuring words in American Sign Language. The 2,000 GIF library is meant to serve as a resource for people who want to learn sign language and those who already rely on it to the communication purpose. It is a collection of educational GIFs featuring the an actor singing words from the American Sign Language.
The GIFs are all pulled from an educational series called Sign With Robert, staring actor and ASL consultant Robert DeMayo. Rather than serve as a pithy reaction or a visual joke, the ASL GIFs are creating an educational experience by taking advantage of the GIF format.
“GIFs, as a visual format untethered for audio, makes them a perfect medium for sign language,” Hilari Scarl, Sign With Robert’s director, told Mashable. The Scarl also points out that a GIF’s constant repetition makes it useful for a person who is trying to pick up new language skills.
“The GIF format has the ability to loop infinitely, so it’s perfect for learning new signs. It does not require the back and forth of hitting play, rewind or repeat,” she also said.
Right now the collection includes GIFs for simple words and phrases like party, weather, color, and the Forth of July. The GIF maker company, Giphy determined which words to release first based on the terms its users most frequently searched for, but the GIFs maker plans to keep expanding the collection in the future.
Giphy has always focused on making GIFs, even more fun for users, but the ASL collection proves that the company recognizes the potential for the GIF to be a powerful language tool. The library will appear in Giphy’s regular search results.