Marlee Signs teaches you sign language in your spare time

Marlee Signs is a sign language learning app for the iPhone that introduces you to the basics of American Sign Language (ASL). It is a joint project between MEDL Mobile and well-known deaf actress Marlee Matlin, who provides the sign language lessons for the app.

Rather than just static diagrams, the app combines photos and videos to show you how to form ASL's standard hand signals. It includes seven video lessons from Matlin that cover the letters of the alphabet, numbers from zero to nine and common phrases like hello and goodbye. In these lessons, you watch Matlin as she signs the phrase. You can rewatch each video and slow down playback, which is helpful for learning a complex sign.

Marlee Signs also includes a spelling section that lets you type in select words and watch how they are spelled using sign language letters. Instead of a video, this section of the app uses still photos of a hand. Each close-up photo shows the proper formation for each letter.

Marlee signs is not a replacement for a comprehensive ASL class, but it is an excellent tutorial to introduce you to sign language. It's also a helpful companion for people who are taking a class and want to review the hand signals in their spare time. Marlee Signs is available for free from the iOS App Store. The app ships with seven basic lessons and you can buy five additional lessons for US$1.99 each.