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June 23, 2003

Verizon service offers sign language basics

From: Boston Globe, MA - Jun 23, 2003

By Peter J. Howe and Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff, 6/23/2003

long with a growing number of time-killers and small-scale video games, Verizon Wireless has begun offering subscribers to its ''Get It Now'' wireless data service a new flash card-like service to help people learn American Sign Language, used by many deaf people.

The so-called Fingerspelling application, which costs $2.49 for a one-time download with unlimited usage, shows the hand positions and movements that make up the 26 letters of the alphabet. The offering, developed by Mobile-Mind, also includes a way to punch in any word or phrase up to 32 characters and see how it would be presented in sign language.

The service is drawing positive reviews from advocates for the deaf, including Rita Straubhaar of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, who says it ''could be a terrific learning tool for students who are beginning to learn American Sign Language.''

©Copyright 2003 New York Times Company