Posted by: learnsignlanguage | April 14, 2010

What is British Sign Language

First of all I wanted to introduce myself and welcome you to this Learn Sign Language Blog……

My name is Sonia Hollis and I work primarily as a sign language interpreter plus other things!

I have been interpreting for over 10 years and over that time have also taught sign language in local colleges….which I found extremely rewarding

It’s a very exciting time at the moment because the demand to learn sign language is extremely high which is why I set up the site and there is a wealth of knowledge and information out there!

But first of all let’s take a look at ‘What British Sign Language is?’

British Sign Language or BSL for short is the name of the sign language which is used in England and the United Kingdom. It is the first language of approximately 150,000 deaf people in the British Isles.There are also many thousands of people who are not deaf who use BSL such as employers of Deaf people, relatives/friends and interpreters.

British Sign Language is a visual-gestural language which has its own grammar utilising facial expressions (non manual features), hand shapes and upper body movements to convey meaning. BSL is a spatial and visual language and a lot of beginners think it is similar to mime (which it is not).

The important thing to remember is that the grammar used in BSL is completely different to that used in everyday English.

British Sign Language has many features just like any other language.

It uses fingerspelling, placement, non manual features, various handshapes and it has its own signing structure.

For some examples of British Sign Language please take a look at


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