Singing Songs in Sign Language

Signing is one of many forms of worship that provide profound meanings. The flowing movements of the signs along with the music can be a beautiful way to enhance the worship experience, even if there is no Deaf person present. You don’t need to understand sign language to appreciate the beauty of a signed hymns that is done well.

Many people practice and then perform signed worship songs either as individuals or as groups. This can be a great blessing to the members of the congregation. Songs can be signed in ASL or English with the same basic result. It is easier for new signers to sign in English because it doesn’t require learning a new language, it just requires learning the signs.

If you are already learning ASL, putting a song into ASL is a great way to practice finding the appropriate sentence structure. Since a song is almost always frozen text, you can take as much time as necessary to come up with the best possible ASL and practice it until it comes naturally.

For some reason, many Deaf people tend to prefer that “frozen text” is signed more in English than in ASL. When hearing people sing or recite something together such as The Lord’s Prayer, or the Pledge of Allegiance, they tend not to pay attention to the words as they recite – together in unity. For that same reason, Deaf people often want that same togetherness that comes from signing the same words at the same time, rather than focus on getting the meaning of the song through an ASL interpretation of it.

The best way to find how to sign a specific song, use your favorite video search engine and use the keyword “sign language and title of hymn/song” or “ASL and title of hymn/song”.  You will find many ways of signing the hymn you want – there is no right or wrong video, for all are expressed in different, yet meaningful ways.