How to Learn Sign Language

learning sign languageWhether you want to or need to, learning how to sign is a great skill. Though learning to sign does not involve words, learning it can be just as difficult as teaching yourself how to speak a new language.

Sign language works differently than spoken English. For example, while the English language contains words for everything, not every word can be translated into a sign. Some signs were created for phrases instead of words, and certain words, such as proper names, need to be spelled out using the sign language alphabet.

If you want to learn how to sign, you may be curious as to how you go about it. But just like any other foreign language, learning to sign requires hard work and dedication. The following tips will help you learn how to sign.

Find the right resources.

There are many different ways you can learn how to sign. You can read books, watch videos, take classes and even utilize resources available on the Internet. Since everyone learns differently, it’s important to access the resources that will help you learn. If you’re a visual learner, you may opt to watch videos instead of read books.

You can also download apps for your smartphone or tablet to help you learn how to sign. Apps such as Sign Language! and Learn Sign Language can help you tackle the language.

If your local park district or community college does not offer courses for sign language, you can always look into hiring a private tutor.

Learn the basics.

Just like any other language, it’s important to start off by learning the basics. You should start by teaching yourself the alphabet. This way, if you want to sign a word, but you don’t know the sign, you always have the option of spelling the word out. You’ll then be able to have a conversation without getting tripped up.

Progress slowly.

Once you have mastered the alphabet, start by learning signs for your basic vocabulary words, such as hello and goodbye. Then, once you’ve mastered those, add a few more signs into the mix. By allowing yourself to have a thorough understanding of the sign, you will not feel bombarded trying to learn.

Surround yourself with others who sign.

The best way to learn sign language is to practice as often as possible, and the best way to do this is to have conversations with other people who sign. If you don’t know anyone else who signs, try and become involved with activities for the deaf community in your area. This interaction will not only help you put your sign language skills to the ultimate test of a conversation, but it may also end up providing you with a great friendship.

If you are truly interested in learning how to sign, this information will help you get started. Determine how you will best learn, start with the basics and progress into full blown conversations. Before you know it, you’ll be a sign language pro.

About The Author
Caroline Jones is a sign language interpreter.  She writes interesting language articles for Accent Pros in her spare time.