'The fastest signer in the West' launches video series

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Doug Burgum has called her “the fastest signer in the West.”

Lindsey Solberg Herbel is a certified interpreter for the North Dakota School for the Deaf and has been by the governor’s side at nearly every coronavirus press briefing since March.

While those briefings have brought us important updates on the coronavirus situation in the state, they’ve also sparked a curiosity about sign language.

That’s part of the reason she decided now is the perfect time to launch a new video series.

Lindsey Solberg Herbel has become a bit of a celebrity in North Dakota.

“You may have seen me on the news with the COVID-19 press conferences,” she said in the video.

Her new-found fame proved the perfect springboard for her latest project: videos to teach basic sign language.

“I thought instead of making something about me, I thought we could share this language with other people and encourage other people to learn it,” said Solberg Herbel.

There are five videos so far. Solberg Herbel teaches the alphabet, numbers, colors, and basic phrases, such as “how are you?” She and fellow interpreter, Renae Bitner, are already planning more videos. They hope the next set will include members of the deaf community.

“That’s the exciting part. they know the language and they are the true teachers of the language,” said Solberg Herbel.

Solberg Herbel says anyone can learn sign language and says knowing some basic signs is a first step toward inclusion.

“You might have somebody in your neighborhood, at your work, in your classroom that uses sign language as a way of communication. This is just one more way to include them. A true sign of acceptance and understanding,” she explained.

You can watch Lindsey’s videos on the Department of Public Instruction’s Facebook page.