The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language

Edited by Clayton Valli
Illustrated by Peggy Swartzel Lott, Daniel Renner, and Rob Hills

Categories: American Sign Language Reference and Instruction
Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Paperback : 9781954622012, 600 pages, August 2021
Ebook : 9781954622029, 600 pages, August 2021
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Created by an unparalleled board of experts led by renowned ASL linguist and poet Clayton Valli, The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language contains over 3,000 illustrations. Each sign illustration, including depictions of fingerspelling when appropriate, incorporates a complete list of English synonyms. A full, alphabetized English index enables users to cross-reference words and signs throughout the entire volume.
       The comprehensive introduction lays the groundwork for learning ASL by explaining in plain language the workings of ASL syntax and structure. It also offers examples of idioms and describes the antecedents of ASL, its place in the Deaf community, and its meaning in Deaf culture. This extraordinary reference also provides a special section on ASL classifiers and their use. Readers will find complete descriptions of the various classifiers and examples of how to use these integral facets of ASL. The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language is an outstanding ASL reference for all instructors, students, and users of ASL.
*Please note that this paperback edition does not include the DVD found in the hardcover edition. 


Clayton Valli was Assistant Professor in the Master’s Interpreting Program at Gallaudet University, a renowned linguist who coauthored the Linguistics of American Sign Language, and also a gifted ASL poet. The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language is dedicated to his memory.



"This extraordinary reference work is composed of approximately 3000 illustrated entries, each showing the American Sign Language equivalent for an English word. The simple, elegant style of illustration clearly shows movement; lighter lines are used for the beginning position, heavier lines show the final position, and arrows indicate direction of the movement. For beginning signers, this book and DVD set is an excellent resource to help practice signs and expand vocabulary. For advanced signers, others in the deaf community, and anyone interested in American Sign Language, this is an excellent vocabulary reference book. For libraries, public and academic alike, this is an essential acquisition."

— Library Journal

"This is a very valuable language resource for parents, students, and teachers learning ASL as a first language and as a second language. The book also provides a complete index of English glosses and synonyms for every sign, making it user-friendly for all levels of students. Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."

— J. F. Andrews, Lamar University, CHOICE

"Superb and definitive reference."

— The Midwest Book Review

"This volume will become the standard in sign language reference sources and should be made available in public, college and university, and many school libraries."

— American Reference Books Annual (ARBA) Online

"This dictionary is an excellent resource book for both teachers and learners of ASL and perhaps also for Deaf learners of English. It should be on the bookshelves of every library of schools and colleges where ASL is taught and used."

— C. Tane Akamatsu, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education