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How to Learn Sign Language

Introduction

Have you ever thought about how do all deaf people manage to say so many things using just a couple of hands? Indeed, sign language is a unique phenomenon. Apparently, sign language is not international and different words are expressed with different signs depending on the country. Thus, American Sign Language is common is the USA, Canada, Norway, Austria, Finland, Germany, and Malaysia. Obviously, learning this language is a challenging task that will take some time. Besides, it's impossible to learn it without practice. If you accept this challenge, you would need some tips.

Do's

1

Alphabet

Any language lessons start with learning alphabet, and sign language is not an exception. You can't learn words and phrases without knowing the very basics.

2

Dictionary

Then, you need to find a good dictionary. The good thing about sign language is the absence of grammar, so your prime goal is to learn as much nouns, verbs and adjectives as possible. Online video dictionary is the best way to go. There are lots of various dictionaries where each word is shown, so all you need to do is repeat and memorize.

3

Online communities

If you need some assistance, feel free to register on related forums and websites. If you have any questions or can't find a word you need, feel free to ask the community.

4

American Sign Language classes

Visit local colleges that offer American Sign Language classes. Join the group and start attending the classes with other enthusiasts. That's probably the best way to learn sign language. Unfortunately, not all colleges offer such classes, but if you live in a big city, you would have good chances to find such classes.

5

Practice

Finally, communicate with deaf people as often as possible to develop the skill. Obviously, you can't learn the language without applying your theoretical knowledge.

6

Improvisation

If you don't know some word and can't use a sign for it in a process of communication, try to use gestures and "act" this word. If this attempt fails, finger-spell it using the letters of alphabet. And don't forget that sign language is not only about your hands. Some gestures requires your using your mimics, shoulders and torso, so don't skip these elements.

Don'ts

  • Don't learn sign language without the assistance. There are some signs that are alike, and you might learn them wrong or confuse them and spend a lot of time on breaking old habits.
  • Don't confuse Sign Supported Speech, Seeing Essential English, and Signing Exact English and sign language. These are just systems created by hearing people to intercommunicate with deaf people.
  • Don't expect that a person would read your lips if you fail to express your thoughts with sign language. Some of them were born deaf and have never heard human speech at all.

Video

Conclusion

So, do you want to learn sign language just for fun or because you are curious? Or is it a necessity because one of your friends or relatives is deaf or mute? No matter what you reason is, you can learn this language pretty fast if you follow the right methodology and have enough practice.

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