terptree: What is British Sign Language (BSL)?

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Monday, 13 February 2012

What is British Sign Language (BSL)?

We thought that a blog explaining exactly what British Sign Language is would be useful for those if you who are thinking about learning BSL.

Enjoy......

British Sign Language is a visual, spatial language that uses key features such as movement of the hands, body, face and head. It is estimated that over 70,000 Deaf people in the UK use British Sign Language as their first or preferred language. BSL was as an official language in 2003.


The difference between BSL and English

Contrary to belief, BSL is a completely different language from English. It has its own grammatical rules and structure and has the full ability to convey any concept or thought.

Example:

English - What is your name?
BSL - YOUR NAME WHAT

Due to the differences between the two languages, it is sometimes difficult for a Deaf person to understand written English, particularly if the document is lengthy, complex or full of jargon.

It is important when writing Policies, documents and even letters - that you use Plain English, so that it is easily accessible for Deaf people.

Sign Languages

Each country uses its own sign language that is based upon the cultures and traditions of that particular country. Australian Sign Language (Auslan) is estimated to be around 80% similar to BSL, but no two sign languages throughout the world are identical.

In the UK, there are many dialects used within Sign Language depending on which part of the country you are from. This is similar to regional dialects within spoken languages.

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