We would like to encourage everyone to learn sign language. But before we go into the 5 reasons why we think you should learn Sign Language we would like to discuss it’s origin.
British Sign Language (BSL) is a unique language developed by the deaf and hearing impaired community in Britain. It was recognised in 2003 by the British government and has almost 200,000 deaf and hearing users all over the country.
You might assume that BSL is just an interpretation in English but in fact, English and BSL are very different! BSL has it’s own grammar and sentence structures that are different from English, making it a unique language in its own right. Naturally, it’s a visual language and it requires you to use your hands, your face and your body to make signs and communicate. This can make it a very fun language to learn and use!
Learning Sign Language can enable you to help include everyone, you can help make hearing-impaired people feel included. Learning this language will open up your world to new possibilities and you may even make new friends for life!
It’s a unique language which when understood can unlock a rich and vibrant culture. If you don’t believe us, ask someone to tell you a Deaf joke – the ones I’ve heard (seen?) are intellectual and physical comedy combined!
People learn British Sign Language for many different reasons. For some, it is to be able to communicate better with a family member, friend, or colleague. Some people learn BSL as part of their job, either because they regularly work with people who use BSL or because they work in a public facing position and wish to be prepared to be able to communicate with any BSL users that they may come into contact with. Others learn BSL for general interest and may not have any immediate plans to use their new skills with anyone in particular. No reason is better than any other but it is great to know that more and more people within communities all around the UK are able to communicate using BSL with those who rely on it for their day-to-day communication.
BSL is the most exciting and expressive language in the UK, as you learn how to create linguistic meaning using your face, your shoulders and your body. It relies entirely on visual images and has a different grammatical structure to spoken languages, so it is like finding new depths of yourself that you didn’t know existed. It’s a great skill to have as it really does open up your way of looking at the world. The more people that learn BSL, the more integrated Deaf BSL users are going to be – so why not join the club?
You can be a part of both the Hearing world and also the Deaf world and learning sign language is a way to be able to communicate better with the Deaf community. The knowledge of sign language opens up many doors and who knows what opportunities it will lead to in the future!
We hope this Adult Learner’s Week we have been able to motivate you to learn a completely new skill in BSL.
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