The Best Way To Learn Sign Language

Sign language is visual form of communication using hand gestures and movements. It is a complex process which can take long to learn with full fluency. But, it is always better to have the guidance from a teacher or some source in order to learn sign language fast . There are various resources available that help people learn sign language like how to learn sign language fast. 

Do you want to learn how to communicate with the Deaf community or people with hearing loss who may use American Sign Language (ASL)? Are you interested in learning sign language and getting paid for it. Do you think you haven’t gotten a perfect site that would enable you learn sign language. Worry not as this site will show you the best way to lean sign language.

Read on to find out how to learn sign language for free. how to learn sign language app & how to learn sign language for beginners. You will also find updated related posts on sign language classes near me on infolearners.

The Best Way To Learn Sign Language

Take a sign language class

If you’re ever considering learning sign language, this is one of the best ways to do it! Often community centers, community colleges or other educational centers offer day or evening classes. Qualified sign language tutors can help you work toward sign language qualifications. Classes are also a great way to meet new people and see the signs face-to-face.

There are also online classes. Some of my HearingLikeMe writers have taken classes with ASL For You and have learned a lot through weekly Zoom classes.

Being in a class gives the opportunity to practice signing with different people. It is considered a good investment if the qualification leads to a job!

If you’re interested, research for classes in your local area or contact your local education authority.

Learn online by watching videos

Like many things these days, you can learn easily online! There are plenty of resources, like YouTube or BSL Zone where you can watch videos with sign language. Any form of video is a great way to watch and you can replay it as many times as you like, in the comfort of your own home.

Join a sign language group, deaf club or visit a deaf café

Many cities have deaf clubs or groups of deaf people who meet regularly and quite often use sign language as their form of communication. It’s a fantastic place to meet new people, who share hearing loss in common as well as the chance to polish your sign language skills. You can contact a Deaf charity or organization nearby, or search for a group using websites such as Meetup.com to find a group for you.

Take an online course

Online courses can be an alternative to day or evening classes that you take in-person. Some Deaf organizations and universities provide these, so do some research to find the best course for you. For example, Gallaudet University has a free online course to learn ASL.

Online courses are more flexible because they can be done in your own time, or in the comfort of your own home. You can practice as much as you need, and there is often no pressure to complete it.

Hire a private, qualified sign language tutor

If you want to learn sign language quickly, a private tutor could be the best way. Research local, qualified sign language tutors in your area who are willing to offer private tuition. Courses could be done in one-to-one sessions, or in small groups of your choice. You may find a private tutor more of a benefit if you find a large class environment is too difficult to learn in.

Watch and mimic interpreters

You can easily pick up signs by watching others, particularly sign language interpreters. You can often find them at deaf events or on TV during special, live events. Some TV shows also utilize sign language, such as “Switched at Birth.”

Ask your Deaf friends and family teach you

Asking a Deaf friend to teach you some sign language is a great way of making new Deaf friends! If you know friends or family use sign language already, asking them to teach you some signs will also remove some stresses from the struggle of oral/spoken conversation with them – making the exchange beneficial for both of you.

Just make sure your friend or family member uses sign language before asking them, as not all people who have hearing loss know sign language.

Use an App

There are also a few apps available to learn sign language on!

My favorite is the ‘Sign BSL’ app, which is a British Sign Language Dictionary app. If you don’t know how to sign a word, you can search for it on the app so it’s a great resource.

There are also great apps for ASL learners. The language learning platform, Drops, released ASL on their Scripts app in conjunction with the United Nations’ International Day of Sign Languages The app teaches learners how to read and write alphabets and character-based language systems.

Drops’ ASL offering on Scripts is free for 5 minutes a day, allowing anyone with the Scripts app the ability to quickly learn the ASL alphabet. By associating illustrations of the signs to their meanings and testing users through fun, 5-minute games, Drops is bringing their acclaimed learning approach to an even broader audience and leveraging its global, multi-million user base to bring global awareness and access to ASL.

Read a Book

If you’re not a fan of online learning, there are plenty of books available at bookshops and libraries. There are varieties from Sign Language dictionaries, books for children, step by step learning and so much more!

These, however, may be more difficult to learn from, as the movements for the signs are not as obvious to see, in contrast to watching a video.

Watch a video/DVD

Yet another suggestion is watching a video or DVD or pre-recorded sign language learning video. Some organizations have created videos or DVDs especially to help you learn the language properly. If you’re not sure which one to get, why not contact a Deaf organization or visit your local library.

Types of sign language 

The first thing to understand is what type of sign language you want to learn. This will most likely be based on where you live, and what verbal language is spoken in your community. Hand signs can vary based on the type of sign language being used. For example, there is American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL) and various others, based on different languages.

In general, sign language is grouped into three sections :

  • Deaf sign languages: The preferred languages of Deaf communities around the world; including village sign languages, shared with the hearing community, and Deaf-community sign languages
  • Auxiliary sign languages: Sign systems used alongside oral, spoken languages.
  • Signed modes of spoken languages, or manually coded languages: Used to bridge signed and spoken languages

best sign language app

1. YouTube videos

One of the easiest ways to learn sign language is through YouTube tutorials. The video hosting site has dozens of teachers who give free lessons on how to sign the alphabet, common phrases, numbers, and more.https://www.youtube.com/embed/KgG81skmlkc?enablejsapi=1&

Here are a few places to start:

  • Dr. Bill Vicars: The hard of hearing ASL expert has numerous degrees in deaf-centric studies, according to his bio on Lifeprint. His love of the language is evident on his YouTube page, which hosts a plethora of ASL lessons.
  • Expert Village: The YouTube channel is home to lessons on pretty much anything, and is a great source of ASL videos for beginners. There’s an extensive series on common phrases, letters of the alphabet, and more.
  • Laura Berg Life: This channel, previously called “My Smart Hands,” is especially great because it was designed with teaching ASL to both adults and young children in mind. It offers videos that share how to sign temperatures, common phrases, read names, and more. Some videos are even dedicated to answering viewer questions.

2. Web resources

Outside of YouTube, the internet also offers a plethora of resources for those looking to learn sign language, including quizzes, courses, and more. Here are three helpful options to consider.

  • ASL Pro: Don’t let the site’s old school appearance fool you. ASL Pro is a free tool with a wealth of quizzes, fingerspelling practices, and a super detailed dictionary complete with video examples for learning how to sign hundreds of words.
  • Start ASL: This online resource offers a variety of courses for those interested in learning sign language. There’s a free three-level course that offers workbooks and activities, along with fingerspelling lessons. And if you’re looking for more advanced ASL learning, the site also offers additional paid courses, both online and office, created and taught by professional ASL instructors.
  • SignASL.org: This online ASL Dictionary is the perfect place to search for words and phrases and learn their corresponding signs. Simply type in a term and the site will show you a selection of ASL videos and resources from trusted websites to choose from.

3. Apps

You can also keep a sign language lesson in your very own pocket by downloading an app onto your smartphone. On-the-go ASL lessons can help you stay refreshed on little things and come in hand when you need to look something up. Not to mention, apps that teach sigh language will let you study any time, anywhere.

There’s a variety of sign language apps available for popular Apple devices, Android devices, and more, but here are a few recommendations if you’re struggling to decide how to learn ASL.

  • ASL Coach: This free iOS app keeps things short and sweet, teaching you how to master the sign language alphabet.
  • ASL: Fingerspelling: The $3.99 iOS app from ASL resource Lifeprint helps gets users up to speed on their fingerspelling techniques.
  • Marlee Signs: Oscar-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin is also in on the app game. Marlee Signs is free for iOS and teaches ASL with video lessons and fingerspelling practice.

how to learn sign language for beginners

To effectively communicate with sign language, you need to know basic sign language words and phrases. Just like spoken languages, there are a variety of sign languages used around the world. American Sign Language (ASL) is used throughout North America, including the U.S. and English-speaking Canada.

ASL is a complete language, which means that you can communicate just about anything through signing. Those who are deaf and hard of hearing, as well as people with functional hearing, use ASL to converse in a rich and expressive way. If you’re interested in learning how to sign, this list of sign language words for beginners is perfect for you.

ASL for Beginners

ASL beginners usually start with learning the alphabet. The 26 letters of the English alphabet can be conveyed through signs in ASL, and words can be spelled out through sequences of signs. This is called “fingerspelling.” Want to give it a try? Figuring out how to fingerspell your own name is a great place to start!

Below, you can find a handy diagram that shows how to sign the ASL alphabet. You can always use these letters when you don’t know how to sign an entire word. If you need to spell a word that has the same letters back to back, make a slight bounce or sliding motion between the repeated letters.

Sign Language for Beginners: Common Expressions

It’s not always practical to spell out words for everyday interactions. That’s where these expressions come in handy! You can use common expressions to meet people, show your appreciation, and communicate with friends.

Asking Questions with Basic Sign Language Words

A single word question can keep a conversation flowing and help you get to know others. An important part of asking questions with sign language is using your face to look inquisitive while you sign. When asking a yes or no question, the eyebrows are raised. With questions that may incur a more detailed response, the eyebrows are lowered.

A FEW TIPS TO REFINE YOUR COMMUNICATION

Once you decide the platform for your sign language learning, here are a few tips to further refine your communication. 

  • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS

Facial expressions are very important in sign language. They essentially help in determining the tone of the conversation since it cannot be discerned by voice. Hence, for effective communication in sign language, be as expressive as you can be and consistently work on your expressions.

  • PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

No matter how you choose to learn sign language, practice is mandatory. If you only learn ASL at home and don’t have any real-life exchanges with actual people you won’t be able to level up and progress. Without regular practice, you’ll quickly get rusty. And if you aim to use sign language professionally, then interaction with other people is vital for proficiency.

With so many resources at your disposal, the only thing to keep you from learning American Sign Language (ASL) is your inner motivation. Choose the method that suits you best, learn and practice with dedication and soon you’ll be communicating using ASL in no time.

how to learn sign language fast

1) Start With the Basics

The fastest way to learn ASL involves starting with the basics. As much as you may want to go from zero to a hundred, it’s best to take baby steps. Begin by learning about the different types of sign languages and figuring out the alphabet. ASL uses one-handed signs for each and every letter of the alphabet. Once you know the ASL letters, you can essentially spell out any word you like, even if you do not know the appropriate sign for the actual word itself. 

2) Learn From a Fluent ASL Speaker

Study with someone who is fluent in American Sign Language. If you teach yourself by watching videos, reading books, or looking up signs, it’ll only teach you up to a certain degree and might take you longer to become fluent. While language learning apps are a great tool – they won’t get you to fluency. As one article in the NY Times puts it, “the reality is a lot more nuanced – and more disappointing.”

3) Sign Up to Learn ASL With a Private Tutor

You need a teacher to teach you, explain the rules, help you overcome roadblocks, give you feedback, and correct your mistakes.

For those who want to learn ASL fast, it’s also best to learn on an individual, one-on-one basis. Many places offer group classes, and yes, they are great for practice – but that’s all, just for practice. You cannot get the same 1-on-1 attention and focus that you can receive from having a teacher or a tutor. The easiest place to find a teacher is online (websites like TakeLessons are perfect for this). Some people might prefer to look for classes in person as well, which can be helpful too. 

4) Practice ALL the Time

You won’t learn ASL fast without putting in the effort. This means you need to be committed to practicing and studying every day. There are all kinds of ways to practice daily, from communicating with Deaf members in your community to studying ASL flashcards. Just don’t make it a chore, have fun with it. The more you practice, the more likely you will retain information. 

5) Get Real-World Practice

If you’re a beginner student, the best way to learn American Sign Language fast is to put it into practice! Yes, use any bit of ASL you’ve learned and sign with other people. You can either sign with others who are also learning ASL, or even with the Deaf.

Many towns have local clubs or group meetings in which Deaf, students, and tutors will all come together and practice signing. In my town, there used to be a small group that would meet together every Friday at a local Starbucks and just sign together. A mix of interpreters, Deaf people, and students would all sign together playing games or watching videos.

By interacting with other people – especially the Deaf – you can increase your knowledge and your skills. That is something I regret. I took too long! I chickened out! As soon as I interacted with the Deaf, I noticed the difference! Both my receptive and signing skills were sharpened.

In this current time of the pandemic, it may be harder to find any groups that meet in person. But don’t let this discourage you! Look for groups online or through social media. Sometimes even local schools or colleges may have an online group you can join as well. Again, don’t give up! Look for these avenues that can greatly help you learn ASL much faster. 

6) Refer to Books

In order to learn ASL fast, many people have also purchased several books about Sign Language. In fact, there are countless ASL books for beginners that can help you make sense of this language. These can be a great tool for you, but again, you need someone to guide you, and to explain things about ASL as you learn. Not just that, but it can be difficult to learn signs from a book because of the various motions you do with the signs.

For example, it can be hard to determine which motion your hand or your finger moves as you’re learning a sign. Is it an upward motion? Forward? To your left or right? Sometimes it’s so difficult that you’ll feel like you are reading hieroglyphics! Therefore, save yourself the struggle of deciphering those puzzling pictures of ASL signs, and learn with a tutor/teacher!

7) Look for ASL Apps

These days, it seems like there is an app for everything! Believe it or not, there are a ton of ASL apps available that can help you learn ASL fast. You’ll find some that help with fingerspelling and others that provide animated sign dictionaries. Perhaps the best part of these learning apps is that they’re available 24/7 so long as you have your smartphone or tablet. Explore an app while riding the metro to work or play a memory game while standing in the line at the grocery store. Frequently using these apps is a great way to learn American Sign Language quickly. 

8) Keep a Notebook on Hand

One of the fastest ways to learn ASL is to keep a notebook handy. Every time you learn a new sign, jot it down in your notebook. Maybe you can draw a picture of the hand movements or write out the instructions. Writing it down will help you commit it to memory, but it will also provide you with a resource to flip through periodically. Make it a habit to review all of your entries on a daily basis so that these signs become a part of your vocabulary. 

9) Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

When learning a new language, you will make mistakes. And that’s ok! Just think about it; you probably make mistakes all the time in your own native language, so why would learning a new language be any different? Don’t worry about being perfect when it comes to learning American Sign Language. Be open to making mistakes and receiving feedback. Every time you correct an error, the better you will become. 

10) Search for Videos 

If you want to learn fluent sign language quickly, look for additional opportunities to watch and explore ASL. Because ASL is such a visual language, it’s helpful to see it in action. Search the internet for speeches that feature interpreters or tune into programs that do the same.

Sometimes, you may even find movies that have ASL. By watching them, you will get the opportunity to see other people use this language and learn from their different signing styles, further deepening your knowledge of ASL. This can also sharpen your receptive skills, which can be the hardest to acquire.

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