Where can I learn sign language in the UK, what is the British alphabet and what courses can I take?

Where can I learn sign language in the UK, what is the British alphabet and what courses can I take?

The film The Silent Child, which tells the story of deaf girl Libby, brought it to the public's attention after Oscar winner Rachel Shenton gave her 2018 acceptance speech in sign language.

How do you learn sign language?

Sign language is used to communicate with those who are hard of hearing or deaf.

There are a number of different types around the world, including British Sign Language (BSL).

It may seem daunting learning a new language, but you can start by picking up the alphabet, numbers and popular words.

Then move on to frequently used phrases and learn how to string a sentence together.

What is the British sign language alphabet?

Many words and phrases have dedication signs, but sometimes you may need to spell out words letter by letter if there isn’t an applicable one.

British Sign Language (BSL) has a slightly different alphabet for left and right handed people, but the American Sign Language only has a one-handed set.

Here is the British alphabet that right-handed signers use for fingerspelling:

What are some simple phrases in sign language?

British Sign offers some simple guides for common phrases and greetings.

Many of them are simple to pick up and only require one hand movement or sign.

Here’s how you can say some common interactions such as “hello”, “goodbye” and “thank you”:

Where can I do sign language courses in the UK?

There are a number of places that you can learn sign language around the UK, from centres to the comfort of your own home.

  • iDeaf offers 30-week courses that run over a couple of hours each week and include exams
  • British Sign runs an online course from just £19.99 which includes lessons, videos and assessments
  • Signature offers qualifications in British Sign Language from levels one to six
  • It may be worth checking if your local community centre has a signing course or classes so you can practice with fellow learners.

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