Reasons You Should Learn British Sign Language
Date : Nov 16, 2020
Author : DR A Zayed
In 2019 over 900,000 individuals in the UK were profoundly or severely deaf, according to Action on Hearing Loss. Out of the 900,000, nearly 24,000 individuals across the country used British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language.
Based on these numbers, it would seem obvious that universities and colleges should offer BLS to students so they can later become BSL interpreters to meet the demand. But this isn’t the case.
Since BSL was only recognized as a sign language in 2003, there are not so many registered interpreters in the UK. Today the number of BSL interpreters ranges between 900 to 1000, and it’s very hard to make an appointment with them because they’re usually fully booked. If you want to make an appointment with them, you need to do it 4- 6 weeks earlier.
Anyone can learn BSL, whether a student, teacher, or parent. It’s not only good for your brain but also a good way to expand your communication skills. That said, this article will give provide you with ten reasons you should learn BSL. Continue reading to learn more.
Why Is British Sign Language Important?
The desire for students to learn British sign language has grown over the years. We can attribute this to the need to communicate with disabled people. BSL is a lifelong skill that no one should take for granted. It’s also a dialect on its own.
British Sign language allows individuals to help people with disabilities in both hearing and speaking. Furthermore, anyone who studies sign language can land jobs easily because both public and private sectors are always searching for people qualified in British Sign Language, which is a nationwide communication language.
In addition, mastery of BLS instils a sense of cultural identity among the deaf. As such, individuals can bond with other hearing-impaired individuals.
10 Reasons You Should Learn BSL
1. Tell Better Stories
We all love a delightful story. However, stories in sign language help people create vivid and long-lasting imagery in the mind of the listeners or onlookers.
Folks who use sign language to communicate can tell awesome stories about the places they’ve visited, people they’ve met, the food they’ve eaten, and even games they’ve played without uttering a single word. And trust me, their stories will forever remain in your mind.
2. Advantages over spoken language
When you learn British Sign Language, you can use it to communicate when the spoken word is physically impossible like taking through a glass, taking underwater, at a loud music concert, talking with your mouth full, or taking from a distance.
It also lets you talk to someone without disturbing others with noise. You can tell your colleague how much you hate a movie while in the cinema interrupting no one.
3. Find work as a BSL Interpreter
With a BSL qualification recognised by a signature, you can land a job as a BLS interpreter or work as a freelance interpreter and earn about £25-35 per hour. What’s even better, you can work in more than one field. Here’s a list of careers you can peruse:
- Coordinating interpreter
- Community interpreter
- Federal court interpreter
- Medical interpreter and translator
- Legal or Judicial interpreter and translator
- And many more
However, keep in mind that you will receive your BSL qualification after studying for about seven years. But this should not put you off because even without a qualification you can work in several contexts as you train. Also, there’s the element of lifelong learning- education has no end.
As a BSL interpreter, you will receive different clients with different needs. You will have to use your communication and team-working skills to help them out. You can also become a sign language translator, where you get to take English text and then sign it.
4. Become a body language expert and read everybody like a book
Like everything else in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it. The same is true for sign language. Sign language is based on body signs and sometimes subtle facial expressions.
After taking several sign language lessons UK, you might be able to figure out what other people are feeling or talking about by just looking at them. You’ll tap into people’s non-verbal communication in a way you never knew it was possible before.
5. Teach your children sign language
For a kid, it’s easy to acquire sign language the same way they gain spoken language. The muscle in a kid’s hand develops faster than their mouths, so teaching them signing earlier can be the best option for early communication, especially if the child can’t utter a word. When your child’s first language is sign language, they will often “babble” with their hand rather than their mouth.
Additionally, learning how to sign at a young age can change the entire course of a child’s life. It will help them land great work opportunities and expose them to an amazing community with a rich history.
Schools offering BLS lessons and BLS clubs are the perfect way to encourage your kid to learn the basics of sign language. Sign language will certainly give children a great head start.
6. Boost your communication prowess
If you’re able to communicate via sign language, you can overcome any communication barrier. Even if you’re still in the learning phase, don’t worry! Over time you won’t have any problem communicating.
7. Introduces you to the deaf culture and community
Learning a new language allows you to learn about a country, its culture, and the individuals who use that particular language. The same applies to British sign language. By knowing how to sign, you’ll learn about the Deaf culture and Deaf Community as well as their rich history.
Don’t miss out on being part of this cool section of society because of the language barrier. Even learning a simple greeting can help you interact and integrate with the deaf in your community.
8. Meet people and make friends
By learning how to sign you can get involved in various deaf communities where you can meet new people and build relationships. Also, if you’re learning BSL with other people, you can interact with them and get to know them better, whether online or offline.
Both online and offline how to learn British sign language programs tend to have a community in social media platforms like Facebook where people can share their experience and journey.
9. Having a private conversation in a public place
You can hold private conversations in public places confidently, but this is only possible if they can’t be seen by anyone who knows sign language. Also, if you’re having a conversation about anatomy, anyone watching might develop an idea of what or who you’re talking about.
Despite the caveats we’ve mentioned, you can talk about anything you want in public and no one will know what you’re talking about. People will be clueless and amazed.
I know some children who learned sign language with their friends so they could communicate in class without their teachers knowing.
10. It’s a beautiful thing
This might not be a reason to peruse or learn BSL, but it’s a reason to love it. Signing is beautiful just the way it looks. Also, it gives millions of deaf people in the world a way to interact with people and attain independence. Simply it gives them life and liberty.
Is it better to learn ASL or BSL?
Determining the best sign language will entirely depend on where you live. If you’re living in America, then you should consider learning ASL since it’s the most popular sign language there. If you’re living in the UK, consider learning BSL.
Both ASL and BSL differ significantly: BSL uses two fingers for alphabet signs, while ASL uses one hand for alphabet and a mixture of one or two hands for signs.
How long does it take to learn British Sign Language fluently?
How to learn sign language BSL, and how long does it take to become fluent, are two commonly asked questions by students who desire to peruse a BSL course.
There’s no easy answer to these questions because it depends on you and how much you’re using BSL in your daily life. Just like any other language, the more you’re immersed in it and practice, the faster you’ll learn.
We hope by now you’re motivated enough to start learning British Sign Language. The truth is you will feel so happy the moment you realise you can have a conversation with someone- you can understand what a person is communicating and you can express yourself.
Yes! You might stumble in the way and even fall sometimes, but you don’t give up. You pick yourself up and continue with the journey. In no time, you’ll be fluent in British sign language.
Furthermore, you’ll realize that BSL users are very appreciative and will help you in every step of your education. With that said, thank you for your time. Best of luck!