ASL-LEX: A Lexical Database of American Sign Language

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ASL-LEX is a lexical database that catalogues information about nearly 1,000 signs in American Sign Language (ASL). It includes the following information: subjective frequency ratings from 25–31 deaf signers, iconicity ratings from 21–37 hearing non-signers, videoclip duration, sign length (onset and offset), grammatical class, and whether the sign is initialized, a fingerspelled loan sign, or a compound. Information about English translations is available for a subset of signs (e.g., alternate translations, translation consistency). In addition, phonological properties (sign type, selected fingers, flexion, major and minor location, and movement) were coded and used to generate sub-lexical frequency and neighborhood density estimates. ASL-LEX is intended for use by researchers, educators, and students who are interested in the properties of the ASL lexicon. An interactive website where the database can be browsed and downloaded is available at


This article was originally published in Behavior Research Methods, volume 49, issue 2, in 2017.

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