You might be curious about what sign language is like and how to use sign language in your life. Some of you may be professionally working with the deaf, while some of you may have friends or loved ones who are auditorily impaired and using sign language is a way for you to communicate with them.
However, sign language is a very niched form of communication whereby this visual language uses facial expression, hand shapes, body language and gestures to communicate with the deaf.
This language is learn primarily for easy communication with those that are hard on hearing and on special occasions, when family members or friends are far away from each other in a noisy environment.
For beginners, sign language can be rather complicated and challenging to master. Unless one has the motivation to study sign language because of professional or personal reasons, mastering sign language is going to be a steep learning curve. Yet, for those who are interested in learning this entirely new and niched form of language, I will share 5 easy ways to learn sign language.
For clarity and common understanding for my readers, I am referring to American Sign Language (ASL).
1. Explore The Power Of YouTube Videos
There is no better time to be born because you can learn things that people spent a lot of time, efforts and money on in the past, within the confines of your room. Without as much as moving a fine muscle. All thanks to the internet. YouTube is a powerful visual repository of knowledge, fun and entertainment. There are loads of beginner videos all lined up within it just waiting for you to call on them. You might want to check out Expert Village channel. It contains a series of lessons where you can learn the basics of sign language, and then practice until you become fluent in it.
2. Apps & Online Resources
Do you want to learn on the go? No qualms. Simply flip on your mobile device, head to the app store and browse the catalog of super powerful apps you can learn sign language through. They give you the flexibility of learning anywhere you are. They are also very good reference point if you need to check up a sign while on the move. For iOS and android, you can try downloading great apps such as Marlee Signs, ASL fingerspelling, ASL dictionary, ProDeaf translator, Sign Language for Beginners, ASL American Sign Language, Signschool and a host of others.
If you do not fancy apps, there are a plethora of websites and other resources available online where you can learn sign languages effectively. Some of the best sites I would recommend are LessonTutor.com, Signlanguage101.com, aslpro.com and a lot more.
3. Loads of Repetitive Practice
What is the essence of learning new things if you would not learn how to make them stick? You must repetitively practice. Study, practice, head back, study some more, practice. What you learn and do not practice will soon disappear from your memory.
4. Learn to Hear the Language
You must be acquainted with the deaf community and learn not just to talk to them but learn to listen to them also. For communication is a two-way traffic, not a one-way street. How would you be able talk to them without first understanding when they try to relate with you? You must put yourself in their shoes as you learn all about them.
5. Learn from the Best
If you do have time on your side and less responsibility, you can decide to sign up with a professional in the field. Because they have years of experience in the sign language terrain and can effectively guide you in your quest.
There are of course traditional ways of learning sign languages ranging from parents to tutors, to school teachers and books. However, life is majorly leaning towards the web and how-to videos currently because they are very flexible, inexpensive and you can learn at your pace. Take advantage of these new technologies and you will speed up your learning process and master sign language in no time!