Introduction to sign language
Sign language has been around for centuries and has evolved into over 130 different national languages! Each national sign language is based on the national spoken language, drawing on its vocabulary, syntax and grammar.
Among the languages spoken, the universal language function has been taken over by English, as is the case with sign language – in order to be able to communicate anywhere in the world, deaf people learn American Sign Language (ASL ). An artificial language, the equivalent of Esperanto, was also created and is used at conferences and official events. The language is called Gestuno and it has gained much more popularity than Esperanto.
Where is sign language used?
The signature is an invaluable communication tool for the Deaf community, but it is also used in many other ways, including:
- for people who can hear but cannot speak (following a physiological disorder or severe traumatic trauma),
- as part of post-stroke rehabilitation, allowing patients with speech disorders to
- communicate with their families and healthcare professionals,
- children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who show better quality of communication when signing up.
Ways to learn sign language
Sign language is a visual communication tool. While you can learn the alphabet and hand gestures from books and the internet, practicing with someone with experience is just as important.
When you observe a person using sign language, you can quickly see that they are holistic and expressive. It combines the shape and movement of the hand, facial expressions, body orientation and hand direction. Once you’ve learned a few basic signs (at least 100 of the most common words or phrases), it’s time to find a partner or a place to practice and develop your skills and vocabulary.
Classroom or sign language courses provide basic or advanced instruction as well as an environment for practice and skill development. Among the many local possibilities, it is worth looking for: free courses offered in public libraries, schools and other educational institutions, paid courses organized by colleges, universities, private schools and tutors.