Posted by: learnsignlanguage | April 30, 2010

Learning Sign Language

How it felt learning sign language

I remember in 1992 when I started to learn British Sign Language. I went along to a class because my friend wanted to learn and I would keep her company.

This was the first time that I had met a Deaf adult and I didnt know what to expect but as soon as he started to sign to us I was ‘taken in’ .

My first initial difficulty was the fact that I was left handed and the teacher was right handed. I couldn’t work out how to change my hands to sign left handed so in the end I decided to learn right handed!

We started with the BSL alphabet and I found that I quickly picked it up and soon wanted to learn more. We learnt some basic greetings and ‘signed’ to each other in pairs.

Going home after the first lesson I felt really proud of myself as I could remember the signs and was soon practising the signs to my husband (who wasn’t really interested!) and to my cat!

I couldn’t wait for the next week…

I started then taking more of an interest in the interpreters on the TV (although there wasn’t as many as there are now) and I watched the Deaf programme See Hear!….it felt totally addictive.

Over the coming weeks we learnt more and more and I bought some DVD’s and videos to help me practise in between the weeks. We also set up a Thursday club whereas the 1st Thursday in each month we would meet at the pub with the tutor and his Deaf friends and ‘practise’.

This felt quite scary initially as I was not sure if I would be able to understand other Deaf people…especially the fingerspelling, which at the time was my weak point.

After a while though by practising and meeting quite a few Deaf people I found that my confidence grew and I could have a very basic conversation in sign language…even if it only revolved around my family and my house!

Take a look at some basic videos of sign language at www.learnsignlanguage.co.uk and start practising.

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