Learning sign language can be a fun experience and help you communicate with more people in the hearing impaired and hard of hearing community. It can also be a survival skill and a live saver.
Whether you are a beginner or experienced in sign language, it is good to understand the different aspects of the language. This includes the basic signs and techniques, where you can find resources to learn them, and the various types of sign languages used throughout the world.
New to sign language? Here are tips you can start with;
Sign Language Alphabet:
Learning to sign the alphabet (known as the manual alphabet) is usually the first place to begin.
Each of the 26 letters in the English alphabet is represented with a unique sign in Sign Language. They’re relatively easy to understand and some mimic the shape of the letter they represent. Practice these and commit them to memory for a good foundation for signing.
Once you know the individual letters, you can use them to form complete words. This is called fingerspelling and it’s an effective way to communicate, even if you don’t know the real sign of a particular word.
Learn the 100 most important vocabulary:
To start communicating, you need to know some basic vocabulary. That’s why at the beginning of your sign language journey you should aim to learn the essentials, like “hello”, “thanks” or “please”. As soon as you know some words you can start getting into a conversation.
Join the conversation:
As soon as you know some basic words and the alphabet don’t hesitate to approach other ASL users. Making conversation is key to learning any language. This is just the same with sign language.
Be aware of and correct the unsteady learning curve:
On the days you feel like you’ve forgotten all signs and you’re not making any progress, don’t let such emotions take away your motivation. The learning progress is not linear as most people believe. It’s often bumpy, but in the long run, your skills are rising.
Note that sign language in America is not the same sign language used around the world. Most countries such as Australia (Auslan) or China’s Chinese sign language (CSL) are different. Often, the signs are based on the country’s spoken language and incorporate words and phrases unique to that culture. So, when learning via online platforms, you know which sign language to sign up for.
Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.