Marlee Signs – Learn Sign Language from an App!

Marlee Signs

If you have ever wanted to learn how to communicate using sign language, you should check out Marlee Signs, a free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app was developed by Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin in collaboration with MEDL Mobile to teach people the fundamentals of American Sign Language (ASL).

The app features videos of Marlee Matlin signing and comes with seven free lessons:

  • Alphabet A-Z (choose from each individual letter)
  • Alphabet A-Z All (where all the letters are shown in a row)
  • Numbers 0-9
  • I, Me, Mine
  • Everyday Signs
  • Questions & Conversations
  • Alphabet Fingers (pictures of the alphabet instead of videos)

You can play the videos at regular and slow motion speeds so you can learn at your own pace. You don’t need to be connected to the Internet to use this app.

One of the coolest features of Marlee Signs is the Spell section where you type a word and Marlee spells the word for you in sign language.  Type in any word and watch Marlee spell it for you.

Although the app isn’t intended to replace a full sign language course, you can continue beyond the basics by purchasing additional lesson packs for $1.99 each. Subjects of the additional lesson packs include:

  • Around You
  • Home
  • Around World
  • Around Town
  • Baby Signs

Marlee Signs is free for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store.

Have you ever tried to learn sign language? Do you like apps that help you learn new skills? Let us know in the Comments section below!


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  1. says

    I’d love to learn sign language but I don’t use a smartphone and also don’t know any deaf people, as far as I know.

    I’ve heard there are many forms of sign languages, as with spoken ones, if this is true which one is this?

    • says

      Hi Monica, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I know that MEDL Mobile also develops Android apps. I can check to see if an Android version of Marlee Signs is in the works. I will let you know what I hear. :-)

  2. says

    I was at a party once and encountered a deaf person. It was interesting and actually spent quite some time with them but we were passing notes and some lip reading. I was thinking it would have been cool to be able to communicate better on their level.

    What next, huh?
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  3. says

    That is so cool Carolyn. I don’t personally know anyone that is deaf but I laugh at myself sometimes thinking I’ll need to know this someday.

    I went this morning with my Mom to help get her auto and home insurance changed and she’s had hearing aides for over 34 years. So at her age even with hearing aides, it’s hard for her to hear what people say. I actually lost my hearing in one ear when I was 21 so six years ago I had to start wearing hearing aides because of that initial loss.

    Can you imagine where my hearing will be in the next 20 years? I might be needing to learn how to do this. Sure couldn’t hurt.

    Thanks Carolyn!

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    • says

      Hi Adrienne, You’re right, it can never hurt to learn new skills. I watched Marlee Matlin on Celebrity Apprentice and was amazed at how her interpreter was able to communicate with her so well. She was a finalist which is amazing considering how much of communication is not only what is said but how it is said. Her interpreter must have done a fantastic job of conveying the tone of communication as well as the words.

      On the show Marlee’s charity helped deaf children around the world get implants so they could hear, some for the first time ever. There is a lot of new technology that is helping people with hearing issues. This app is another example of how tech can help people overcome their challenges!
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  4. Jeevan Jacob John says

    That seems like a great app to have ;)

    Any apps on learning other languages, Carolyn (For the past few weeks, I have been thinking about spending some time learning something new – apart from what I am learning in college).

    Language seems like a great option to go for (I am also considering coding!). I could try to learn sign language (after all, it’s also a language). Let’s see ;)

    Thank you for the info, Carolyn!

  5. Aditya says

    Hi Carolyn,
    Marlee is on the move to a great path by making all aware of having a quick and easy learning module/app.Through this no one has to go and learn sign to communicate with those who just understands sign language.

    But i am wondering is this app downloadable for “Notebooks” as iPhone have a small screen and having a clear view is necessary for a better preview.

  6. says

    I have actually thought about understand sign language. I don’t know anyone that I could talk to by using it, but I have always been fascinated by how it works, and how hard it must be to communicate by using it. And, I’ve read that there’s only one sign language in the world, so if you learn it you can speak to anyone (well, if they understand sign language) :)

    Thank you so much for your tips Carolyn.
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  7. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    What a fantastic app. My mum is deaf and when we were growing up we learnt the alphabet and a few hand signs for when my mum couldn’t read our lips.

    Communication in the house was somewhat limited but when she had any appointments, meetings etc one of us had to go with her so she knew what was being said.

    She always gets so frustrated at never really knowing everything that has been said and there are so few people that actually try to communicate with her. I find that when you tell people she’s deaf they start shouting at her and that really winds me up.

    I once reminded her GP that she was deaf and that he should slow down….. so he started bouncing on one leg whilst trying to explain how her balance is affected with aging…. and he “was” her pigging doctor :(

    I taught my children the alphabet so they could “talk” to their nan and my daughter aged 7-8 then gave a lesson in school to the class to help spread the word.

    In the old days we didn’t have type talk phones, door bells that flash the lights or any other aid come to that so it’s really pleasing to see these new aids come onto the market….. and this one especially.

    I think its fantastic that the language barriers are coming down. I’m now going to try and find one for the UK sign language :)

    Thanks Carolyn,

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  8. says

    I think this app could be very useful and fun too. Learning a new language is always fun and sign language is so complicated that it would be great to know the basics. It could be very useful as well. Thanks for sharing about this, Carolyn. It just makes me wonder at the Wonder of Technology :)

    • says

      Hi James, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! You’re right, this is a fun way to learn a new language. You never know when you might need to communicate using sign language and it’s handy to have an app at the ready. :-)

    • says

      Hi Mike, That would be a helpful word to know if you had a deaf gardener. Sometimes, just knowing the alphabet in sign language can come in handy.

      Yes, this app can be very useful for those who need to communicate with sign language. It’s a fun way to learn plus you have it with you wherever you go!

  9. says

    That is one good app carolyn. It is always good to learn sign languages and this makes it even more easier.

    I am sure there will be a lot of downloads on this app, never heard of such a one before ever.

    I have seen many deaf people around in the malls conversing in topics with so much ease, i have always wanted to understand how they communicate and maybe even learn their sign languages. Now it should be easy. I will surely download this app right away….
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    • says

      Hi Praveen, Yes, when you see people conversing in sign language it’s very interesting. At first you don’t even realize that they are speaking because you don’t hear them. And they generally go very fast so you wonder how they can process it so quickly.

      I think it takes years to learn sign language fluently, like any language. But how cool to have that skill! :-)
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  10. says

    This sounds like something really helpful and ofcourse new. I have never heard about anything like this before. Learning sign language with the help of an app would make it so easy to know how to communicate with handicapped people. No need for any classes or tuitions, just one mobile application.

    • says

      Hi Thomas, Yes, this app can be incredibly useful to communicate using sign language. The lessons are clear and easy to understand, plus you can keep the lessons with you wherever you go!