British Sign Language (BSL) is the language of choice for up to 70,000 deaf and hearing-impaired individuals across the UK. Like American Sign Language, it isn't directly related to the grammar and syntax of spoken English. The growth of the Internet has resulted in large communities of deaf and hearing-impaired connecting via computer networks and many opportunities to learn British Sign Language online.
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Things you need
- Broadband connection
Visit the Sign Station website (see resources) to get an online introduction to British Sign Language and the deaf/hearing-impaired community. The video, which is led by the deaf characters Amy and Zing, covers many important subjects, including the British and Irish finger-spelling alphabets.
Learn one BSL sign a day online for free at Signpost, a division of ITV PLC, The site is also home to interactive software which enables you to type in any word and it will show you how to fingerspell it.
Expand your vocabulary at BritishSignLanguage.com. The site is home to an online BSL dictionary consisting of common words, including days of the week, countries and emotions. In place of a definition, however, you'll find an image or streaming video showing you just how to replicate the sign. Written instructions are also provided.
Investigate British Sign Language websites which concentrate on your area of interest. There are sites out there devoted solely to one subject. Science Signs, for example, is aimed solely at science educators. The site, which requires video player software, teaches using video tutorials. Topics such as anatomy, physics and genetics can be studied. A glossary of higher education terms is also provided.
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