Sign language is the means of communication used by deaf people. The first book for teaching sign language was published in 1620, by Juan Pablo de Bonet, which consisted of manual alphabets. Since then, sign language has gradually grown and evolved to suit the needs of the deaf people. Learning sign language involves learning gestures, hand signs and finger spellings and using them effectively to communicate with those who have lost their hearing ability. However, you will have to be a patient and mature student, to learn and understand this elegant language. In case you need any help, explore this article to find some useful tips on how to learn sign language.
Learning Sign Language
- Since the methods of learning sign language are different from those used to learn spoken languages, it is important for someone trying to learn sign language to understand these differences in the first place. The grammar system of sign language is unique and it’s better to get a hang of the sign grammar, before you begin to memorize the signs.
- Finding a good teacher or taking good sign language lessons is the key to learning the language in right way. Private language schools and community college also offers sign language courses and you can choose accordingly. A video or DVD course or an online course with animations may also suit your purpose.
- There is also an option to learn sign language from books, by choosing some basic books on sign language to start with. The range of sign language books may advance from ‘survival’ level to ‘upper intermediate’ level. Along with books, you can also get yourself a sign language dictionary, which contains not just written words, but sign pictures as well.
- Flash cards can be of great help and are offer a realistic and effective way to practice sign language. Sign language flash cards carry pictures of either a hand or a person forming the sign, with the help of arrows depicting hand and arm movements.
- You can also watch sign language users on TV. This will help you in improving your hand movements, when trying to communicate in sign language. Instructional videos will be of great help. You can arrange for them quite easily as well.
- Try to interact with the users of sign language. If you can find a local sign language club near your place, join it for greater interaction with sign language users. A school or organization for the deaf is also the right institution to get in touch with, for learning the sign language.
- Practice what you have learnt. Although it may be a little difficult to find someone you can communicate with, using sign language, it is important to practice the language. You can even try to find someone with similar interests, so that you two can practice sign language together. Remember, ‘practice makes a man perfect’, be it any sphere of learning.