How to Learn British Sign Language Online

Written by karen cotton
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How to Learn British Sign Language Online
There are many online resources for BSL. (typing hands image by Tom Davison from

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.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Broadband connection

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  1. 1

    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.

    How to Learn British Sign Language Online
    The video shows the wide-range of jobs deaf people enjoy. (construction 2 image by maloni from
  2. 2

    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.

    How to Learn British Sign Language Online
    Fingerspelling dates back to the 17th century. (alphabet image by Blue Moon from
  3. 3

    Expand your vocabulary at 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.

    How to Learn British Sign Language Online
    BSL has regional dialects and even slang phrases. (globe #5 image by Adam Borkowski from
  4. 4

    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.

    How to Learn British Sign Language Online
    The biology section includes the BSL sign for bivalve. (oyster image by Filip Mazurek from

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