Good Resources to Learn English Sign Language
Of course, not every language uses the Latin alphabet like English, so their sign language alphabet differs as well. Some manual alphabets are one-handed, such as in ASL and French Sign Language, and others use two-hands, like BSL or Auslan. Though there are similarities between some of the different manual alphabets, each sign language has its own style and modifications, and remains unique.
Sign Language Alphabets From Around The World
It’s the main form of communication for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community, but sign language can be useful for other groups of people as well. People with disabilities including Autism, Apraxia of speech, Cerebral Palsy, and Down Syndrome may also find sign language beneficial for communicating.
There is no single sign language used around the world. Like spoken language, sign languages developed naturally through different groups of people interacting with each other, so there are many varieties. There are somewhere between 138 and 300 different types of sign language used around the globe today.
Interestingly, most countries that share the same spoken language do not necessarily have the same sign language as each other. English for example, has three varieties: American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan).
Sign Language Alphabets from Around the World
American Sign Language (ASL)
Although ASL has the same alphabet as English, ASL is not a subset of the English language. American Sign Language was created independently and it has its own linguistic structure. (It is, in fact, descended from Old French Sign Language.)
British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Language (BANZSL)
Chinese Sign Language (CSL)
Probably the most-used sign language in the world (but there is currently no data to confirm this), Chinese Sign Language uses the hands to make visual representations of written Chinese characters. The language has been developing since the 1950s.
French Sign Language (LSF)
Japanese Sign Language (JSL) Syllabary
Arabic Sign Language
The Arab sign-language family is a family of sign languages across the Arab Mideast. Data on these languages is somewhat scarce, but a few languages have been distinguished, including Levantine Arabic Sign Language.
Spanish Sign Language (LSE)
Spanish Sign Language is officially recognized by the Spanish Government. It is native to Spain, except Catalonia and Valencia. Many countries that speak Spanish do not use Spanish Sign Language! (See Mexican Sign Language below, for example.)
Mexican Sign Language (LSM)
Mexican Sign Language (‘lengua de señas mexicana’ or LSM) is different from Spanish, using different verbs and word order. The majority of people who use Mexican Sign Language reside in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Variation in this language is high between age groups and religious backgrounds.
Ukrainian Sign Language (USL)
Both the ASL Level 1 & 2 are self-paced and structured so that you can complete them in ten weeks. However, you can take longer than that if you need. The complete ASL course is available at an affordable cost of $37.5. It teaches you 1400+ vocabularies that you can start using right away.
The video instruction stretches to more than 8 hours so that you can get a clear, detailed idea. They help you enhance your learning with 100+ worksheets and interesting activities. Besides, this online course also includes 50 receptive questions you can practice along with 100 fingerspelling tasks.
You can learn ASL based on your schedule, plus they track your learning progress as well. It is suitable for varying ages from 10-100 years, and the overall learning atmosphere is fun and unintimidating. After the online ASL course completion, you will earn a certificate to display wherever you want.
Top 10 Tips for Practicing Sign Language (ASL):
Just follow a simple formula that the more you practice sign language, the better you’ll become, and the faster you’ll improve your skills. Moreover, there are numerous fun and effective ways to practice sign language skills. Here are the top 10 tips to increase your learning speed of sign language lessons. Check out these remarkable ideas below.
1. Join the Local Deaf community:
You can attend a public gathering of the Deaf community and Hard hearing people on various occasions. Moreover, It is better to get involved in your local Deaf community to immerse yourself in sign language. In this way, you will get a huge opportunity to practice conversations in various situations.
2. Plan Weekly Coffee Dates:
You can plan weekly coffee dates with someone fluent in sign language or a professional Sign Language Interpreter. You may tell them how your week went and other topics in common to practice sign conversation. If you are facing difficulties finding a language partner near you can use Deaf Chat Coffee.
3. Teach Sign Language to a Friend:
Additionally, you can offer an online course on Sign language for free or with little pay to social media friends. Even you can run an online forum or social media group to teach Sign language to the participants.
4. Practice on Video Chat Apps:
You can take advantage of video text messaging apps to chat easily with other friends who use or learn sing language to practice. You will find various phone apps with different features to connect remotely with other learners to share your learning experience. Moreover, you can also make a schedule and practice sign language regularly with a pattern.
5. Sign the Lyrics while enjoying Music:
You can challenge yourself to sign the lyrics while listening to your favorite songs. If you’d like, you can even slow down the music playing speed. Additionally, you can video record your sign language music lyrics and upload them to YouTube to help other sign language learners globally.
6. Join Social Media Groups or Online Forums:
You can join a sign language group on Facebook or other social media platform to make friends with other learners at different levels. You can practice with beginner-level learners and take help from the advanced level learners. Likewise, you can join online forums related to sign language and interact with thousands of members online.
7. Utilize Group Video Calling Apps:
You can utilize group video call or video call conferencing apps featured in social media platforms for enjoying group live interaction. Moreover, you can join meetings and conferences on Def community events. In this way, you can jump into Deaf culture to become a part of the conversation.
8. Take Sign Language Lessons Online:
Several YouTube sign language lessons online, and these video resources help you memorize the alphabet, numbers, and more. Moreover, you can enjoy these lessons at your convenient time using your smartphone. Additionally, you can watch others’ use of sign language makes for good practice, so try to find Sign Language Interpreters‘ videos at work.
9. Practice on Interactive Games and Quizzes:
You will find numerous websites that feature dozens of interactive games and quizzes to test your sign language skills as you progress. Only learning is not enough. So, it’s essential to measure your learning progress and adjust your plan accordingly. Moreover, these interactive games and quizzes are the best way to practice and learn from your mistake as you along with your learning journey.
10. Study a Sign Language Dictionary Regularly:
You can regularly study a sign language dictionary to expand your vocabulary when you’re confused about how to sign something. ASL dictionary is the perfect companion with a video illustration of over 5000 words and phrases.
Moreover, add an ASL keyboard like Signily to your iPhone or Android for better practice every day. As a result, you will enjoy switch back and forth to your usual keyboard if you forget a letter and learn sign language faster.