What is Sign Language?
(Please scroll down for your FREE sign language resources)
Most Deaf people who use sign language in this country use British Sign Language, or BSL. It’s a rich combination of hand gestures, facial expressions and body language.
BSL was recognised by the government as a language in its own right in March 2003, but there is no accurate figure for the number of sign language users in this country.
The last census did ask a question about sign language use, but it was badly worded and misunderstood, and as a result it vastly under-reported the number of users.
A good estimate is that there are around 100,000 people who use BSL as their preferred language.
BSL isn’t simply English with hand signs, it is a different language with its own grammar and sentence construction. While you would say “what is your name?” in English, a BSL user would sign, “your name, what?”.
Finger spelling is used when there is no particular sign for a word, good examples would be spelling out someone’s name, or an address. Download your free A4 Fingerspelling Poster.
Just as in English, there are slight regional variations to BSL, with some different signs around the country.
Free Sign Language Resources
Please click here to download the British Sign Language resources* below.
*These resources have been kindly shared with us by Early Learning HQ, for more high quality teaching resources please see their website.
Learn sign language with Sign2sing
Sign2sing is a fun introduction to learning sign language and thousands of people from schools, community groups and businesses across the UK take part every year (over 120,000 in 2016!).
Click here to register on the sign2sing website and receive your free activity pack!