Differences Between ASL, SEE, & PSE

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Many of my Instagram and TikTok followers have sent me direct messages asking about the differences between ASL, SEE, & PSE, and I thought you would like to have the answer too!


If you have been doing some research and learning more about Sign Language, you may have seen some unfamiliar terms: American Sign Language (ASL), Signed Exact English (SEE), and Pidgin Signed English (PSE). Well, isn’t all of this still Sign Language? Yes, it is, but there are differences that we will talk about today!

ASL is a very expressive language that also involves facial expressions and body language to communicate the entire message. Much visual expression is incorporated as if you are telling a story to convey a message, and even the grammar structure is different than spoken English. When using ASL to communicate, you will leave out words such as conjunctions because ASL is straight to the point making it unnecessary to include non-essential words. Be sure to check out my ASL lessons on Sign Tribe!

SEE is not focused on expression, and it is an exact word-for-word translation of spoken English, in spoken English grammatical order as it would be written. Some of the signs are different as well.

PSE can be thought of as a combination of ASL and SEE. Many people who are hearing will often use this method of Sign Language as it is a fusion of both languages that are used. When using PSE, you use ASL signs with an English spoken order.

Check out this video on YouTube explaining the differences between the three!

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