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A collection of commonly-asked questions about sign languages, particularly American Sign Language.
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2017 URL: http://libguides.gallaudet.edu/sign_language Print Guide RSS Updates

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Pop songs, poetry, and speeches in sign language

Introduction and Caution

This list has not been updated with newer material for several reasons: 

  1. A comprehensive listing of all current ASL representations of popular songs, speeches, and poetry is no longer possible with the advent of the Internet and easily-searched indexes that offer quick access to ASL versions of well-known works of both text and speech.
  2. However, as it currently exists, the list currently represents a very good cross-section of ASL glosses that are still available in video and at the Gallaudet University Library.
  3. Because of the above factors, this list has been updated only to reflect our current holdings; this entails removing those videos which we no longer hold. 

The vast majority of recent ASL glosses of popular works are now freely available online through such sites as YouTube.com or Vimeo.com. In addition, Gallaudet University has been converting many older ASL films to digital format and has made much of the newly-converted material available online at the Gallaudet University Video Catalog. To find ASL videos, simply go to one of the linked sites -- or another Web video site -- and perform a search for "sign language" or "ASL." To narrow your results, add part of the title of the work you're looking for -- "pledge," for example -- to your search.

Finally, please remember: Although examples of sign language are plentiful on the Internet, not all of them represent true American Sign Language. Many are English transliterations, in Pidgin Sign English, or are school assignments. Therefore, many examples may be best used to learn vocabulary.

An Index

This is a guide to sources of various popular songs, poetry, and speeches rendered into sign language. The sources indicated below with an asterisk (*) were not completely indexed, only the most popular songs or poetry being included here.

Abbreviations and conventions used:

  • AISL = American Indian Sign Language version
  • ASL = American Sign Language version
  • Illus. = Illustrations show the signs
  • Music = Includes musical arrangement
  • PSE = Pidgin Sign English version
  • SEE = Signing Exact English (SEE II) version
  • Signed English = Signed English version

Sources:

  • American freedom speeches (videorecording). Burtonsville, MD: Sign Media, Inc., 1994. (DEAF 815.508 A54, 1994)
  • *American Sign Language hymns for signing. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1995. (DEAF 782.32 H95 1995)
  • Christmas stories (videorecording). Rochester, NY: Interlingual Images, 1986. (DEAF 394.2 C477, 1986)
  • Lift up your hands: inspirational and patriotic songs in the language of signs (by Donna C. Gadling, Daniel H. Pokorny, and Lottie L. Riekehof). Washington, DC: The National Grange, 1976. (DEAF 784.7 G3l 1976)
  • Lift up your hands, volume II: favorite songs with sign language interpretation (by Donna Gadling Weaks). Washington, DC: The National Grange, 1980. (DEAF 784.7 L54 1980)
  • Religious signing (by Elaine Costello). Toronto, New York: Bantam Books, 1986. (DEAF 420 C67r 1986).
  • Selections from My third eye (videorecording). Chicago: WTTW-TV, 1973. (DEAF 791.438 S45, 1973).
  • The sign language: a manual of signs, second edition (by J. Schuyler Long). Omaha, Neb.: Dorothy Long Thompson, 1918; also same edition reprinted by Gallaudet College, Washington DC, in 1952 and 1963. (DEAF 420 L66s)
  • Signing exact English (by Gerilee Gustason and Esther Zawolkow). Los Alamitos, Calif.: Modern Signs Press, 1993. (DEAF 427 G8s 1993)
  • *Sing praise: hymnal for the deaf. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1975. (DEAF 264.2 S5 1975)
  • Songs in signed English. Washington, DC: Kendall Green Publications, 1984. (DEAF 784.624 K3s 1973)
  • You've got a song: selected popular songs with sign language interpretation (by Donna Gadling and Daniel Pokorny). Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, 1979.

Printed English glosses from sign language:

  • A-hunting we will go. Songs in signed English, p.12-15 (Signed English, Illus., Music).
  • All things bright and beautiful. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 147 (ASL).
  • Amazing grace. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 378 (ASL); Lift up your hands, p.28-30 (PSE, Illus., Music); Sing praise, hymn 77 (ASL).
  • America the beautiful. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 696 (ASL); Lift up your hands, p.25-27 (PSE, Illus., Music); Sing praise, hymn 223 (ASL).
  • Are you sleeping? Songs in signed English, p.16-19 (Signed English, Illus., Music).
  • Away in a manger. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 217 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 39 (ASL).
  • The battle hymn of the republic. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 717 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 225 (ASL).
  • Blest be the tie that binds. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.30 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Born free. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.16-19 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Christ the Lord is risen today. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 302 (ASL).
  • Close to you. You've got a song, p.21-23 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Day by day. Lift up your hands, p.11-14 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Daybreak. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.22-25 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Down in the valley. Songs in signed English, p.34-39 (Signed English, Illus., Music).
  • The first noel [The first nowell]. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 245 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 45 (ASL).
  • Gloria in excelsis Deo. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 72 (ASL).
  • Go, tell it on the mountain. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 251 (ASL).
  • God bless America. Lift up your hands, p.17-19 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Hark! he herald angels sing. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 240 (ASL); Sign praise, hymn 39 (ASL).
  • He's got the whole world in his hands. Lift up your hands, p.15-16 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • I believe in the sun. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.13-15 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • I can see clearly now. You've got a song, p.11-13 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • I'd like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony). Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.26-29 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • It came upon the midnight clear. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 218 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 40 (ASL)..
  • Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Sing praise, hymn 43 (ASL).
  • Kum ba yah. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 494 (ASL); Lift up your hands, p.6-7 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Let there be peace on earth. Lift up your hands, p.20-24 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • London Bridge is falling down. Songs in signed English, p.40-43 (Signed English, Illus., Music).
  • The Lord is my shepherd. See Twenty-third psalm.
  • The Lord's prayer. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymns 270 and 271 (ASL); Religious signing, p.192-196 (ASL, Illus.); The sign language (ASL, Illus.); You've got a song, p.29-31 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Make new friends. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.6 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Mine eyes have seen the glory. See The battle hymn of the republic.
  • My country, 'tis of thee. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 697 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 227 (ASL).
  • Nearer, my God, to thee. Sing praise, hymn 143 (ASL).
  • O beautiful for spacious skies. See America the beautiful.
  • O come, all ye faithful. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 234 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 37 (ASL).
  • O little town of Bethlehem. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 230 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 36 (ASL).
  • Oh, where has my little dog gone? Songs in signed English, p.4-7 (Signed English, Illus., Music).
  • Onward Christian soldiers. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 575 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 173 (ASL).
  • Pass it on. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.7-10 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • The pledge of allegiance. Signing exact English, p.XXIV-XXV (SEE).
  • Pop goes the weasel. Songs in signed English, p.20-23 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Row, row, row your boat. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.5 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Silent night. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 239 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 44 (ASL); You've got a song, p.24-25 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Skip to my Lou. Songs in signed English, p.8-11 (Signed English, Illus., Music).
  • The star-spangled banner. Sing praise, hymn 231 (ASL).
  • Sunshine on my shoulders. You've got a song, p.14-16 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Tell me why. Lift up your hands, p.8-10 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • There's something about that name. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.20-21 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • They long to be close to you. See Close to you.
  • This is my country. Lift up your hands, vol. II, p.11-12 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • This land is your land. Lift up your hands, p.31-33 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • Three blind mice. Songs in signed English, p.24-33 (Signed English, Illus., Music).
  • Twenty-third psalm. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 136 (ASL); Sing praise, hymn 150 (ASL).
  • We three kings of Orient are. American Sign Language hymns for signing, hymn 254 (ASL).
  • You light up my life. You've got a song, p.26-28 (PSE, Illus., Music)
  • You've got a friend. You've got a song, p.17-20 (PSE, Illus., Music).
  • You've got a song. You've got a song, p.4-6, 8-10 (PSE, Illus., Music).

Videotape recordings of signed performances:

  • Acceptance speech, July 1984 (by Geraldine Ferraro). In American freedom speeches, tape 2 (ASL).
  • The birth of Christ, according to the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke (excerpts). In Christmas stories (ASL).
  • A Christmas carol (by Charles Dickens) (excerpts). In Christmas stories (ASL).
  • The Gettysburg address (by Abraham Lincoln). In American freedom speeches, tape 1 (ASL).
  • "Give me liberty or give me death" speech (by Patrick Henry) (excerpts). In American freedom speeches, tape 1 (ASL).
  • I have a dream (by Martin Luther King) (excerpts). In American freedom speeches, tape 2 (ASL).
  • In the great walled city, by Raymond MacDonald Alder. In Christmas stories (ASL).
  • Inaugural address of Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 1933 (excerpts). In American freedom speeches, tape 1 (ASL).
  • Inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, January 1961 (excerpts). In American freedom speeches, tape 2 (ASL).
  • Inaugural address of Thomas Jefferson, March 1801 (excerpts). In American freedom speeches, tape 1 (ASL).
  • The little match girl (by Hans Christian Anderson). In Christmas stories (ASL).
  • The night before Christmas (by Clement Clark Moore). In Christmas stories (ASL).
  • On human rights (by Jimmy Carter) (excerpt). In American freedom speeches, tape 2 (ASL).
  • On woman's suffrage (by Susan B. Anthony). In American freedom speeches, tape 1 (ASL).
  • The pledge of allegiance. In American freedom speeches, tape 2 (ASL).
  • The star-spangled banner. In Gallaudet University commencement videotapes, any year 1989 to the present, near the beginning (DEAF VHS 378.753 G347).
  • The story of the first Christmas tree (by Rose Fyleman). In Christmas stories (ASL).
  • Struggle for justice (by Cesar Chavez). In American freedom speeches, tape 2 (ASL).
  • Three blind mice. In Selections from My third eye (ASL).
  • United States Constitution. Bill of Rights. In American freedom speeches, tape 1 (ASL).
  • United States Constitution. Preamble. In American freedom speeches, tape 1 (ASL).
  • United States National Anthem. See The star-spangled banner.

* * * * * * * * * *

Prepared by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
April, 2004
Updated: June 2010
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