Becomes Easier To Learn Another Sign Language
I have always been told that I pick up languages very quickly.
Im not sure if I buy the logic of having the knack for it, being talented or being a natural polyglot.
What I can definitely say from experience is that if you learn one new language, it is easier to learn another.
And if you already know know an extra language on top of your native language, then you may also have a headstart in adding more languages to your portfolio.
So why not sign language?
Learning Asl Boosts Cognition
Learning sign language and any other foreign languages is good for the brain. It enhances cognition, and creative and abstract thinking. It even has the added benefit of improving hand and eye coordination. It exercises the peripheral vision, training you to become more aware of the environment. Deaf people have sharp vision, and you can have that, too if you learn sign language. These abilities can work to your advantage regardless of the industry you are in. However, you need them even more if you are a pilot, a surgeon, a fabricator and mechanic, or any other job that requires hand-eye coordination.
Help Stimulate And Boost Your Brain
Another one of the benefits of learning sign language is that it gives your brain a good workout. This is yet another one of the reasons to learn ASL even if you think you dont really need to.
According to a report, learning a second language, foreign language, or being bilingual can boost brainpower. It enriches and enhances your cognitive processes. You become a better problem-solver, you have better listening skills, you think more creatively, improve memorization, and more.
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Find A Satisfying Job Supporting Others
With a BSL qualification, you will stand out! You will be able to find work in hearing impairment units in schools, as a campaigner, support worker, audiologist, teacher and many other local government services. You could use your communication skills to volunteer at events in the Deaf Community and provide a valuable service to charities around you. By learning BSL, you will open yourself up to so many exciting opportunities that will take you beyond your comfort zone.
If you are in a management or recruitment role, read our article, Improving Support for Deaf Employees which explains how useful deaf awareness training is, as well as the importance of supporting D/deaf employees.
Have A Private Conversation Publicly
Have you ever wanted a secret language so you can discuss private matters openly? Provided no one around you can speak sign language, you can say anything you like, and it will fall on deaf ears . Imagine talking in the cinema without worrying about disturbing those around you. Or discussing something highly personal in a busy café. You can even talk about people in front of them without them ever knowing!
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Its A Beautiful Language
Its expressive. Its fascinating. Its unique. Its graceful.
I have my own personal reasons on why its important to learn sign language. But looking at the points above, it is easy to see that there are many benefits from learning it anyway.
Too many have I seen comments online or heard from people who says that I would love to learn sign language or I wish I can communicate in sign language.
My advice? First, think about why you want to do it.
Second, if its for the right reasons and you are genuinely interested in it, then just do it. Find local classes or online courses from accredited and credible places, practice a lot and connect with d/Deaf people.
Like anything new, the first time you do anything, it will not be very good. But dont worry, it happens to all of us, even for me.
If you have been thinking about learning sign languages, what is stopping you?
Let me know in the comment below.
Signing Is Growing In Popularity
According to the Modern Language Association’s statistics , ASL had become the third most studied modern/foreign language at colleges and universities in the U.S., after Spanish and French, up from fourth in 2009. Furthermore, it has a higher percentage of enrollments above the top three second languages studied.
Among hundreds of signed languages in use around the world, ASL is used in the commonly used in the U.S. and Canada. The 2016 Canada Census data revealed 27,510 people reporting a sign language as the language used at home, including ASL and LSQ in Canada, among those who responded to the survey . The US Census Bureau doesn’t include ASL in its census-taking, so it’s difficult to determine a precise number. But, estimates in the literature range from 500,000 up to 2,000,000 ASL speakers in the U.S.
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Learning Languages Is A Must
Sign language is often underestimated or undervalued as an actual LANGUAGE. The demand for ASL translators has skyrocketed as more businesses expand their reach to persons with disabilities. I myself used sign language as my daughters second language for the first year.
We then chose to switch to Russian as her second language because of the opportunity I had living overseas. We had access to fluent speakers at a fraction of the cost in America, so we began other languages. However, the benefits of sign language are equivalent to learning any language around the world.
A multilingual child can keep focused on abstract ideas and reasoning skills. This is due to their exposure as infants to solving language puzzles. Another advantage is that multilingual child have better self-regulatory skills.
For example, being able to take turns and share or managing anger when they do not get their way. This ability to focus and utilize reasoning skills translates to successful reading skills as a child grows.
To Communicate With The Deaf
This should be a no-brainer. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 4,022,334 people in the United States have hearing loss, and quite a number of them communicate using American Sign Language. Anyone can be deafa family member, friend, coworker, neighbor or even a passing stranger in the grocery store. Learning American Sign Language will allow you to be able to thoroughly communicate with the deaf and allow the collapse of the language barrier that divides the hearing and deaf world.
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Sign Language Is For Everyone
Although signing is usually used by those with developmental delays and communication problems, there are lots of advantages for other people using sign language too. By implementing sign language in mainstream nurseries and schools it creates a more inclusive culture.
Instead of children feeling excluded, signing is something everyone can do and provides a sense of openness and acceptance. When it is incorporated into the broader early years setting, it becomes a normal way to communicate and allows children to interact with each other much easier. Activities such as assemblies, music performances, and storytelling can be done through sign language so that everyone can be engaged.
Also, by learning new words and songs through signing it provides children with a visual prompt to reinforce what they have learned. In addition signing supports memory and recall as children are using both parts of their brain instead of just one.
You Become More Diverse
Many businesses say that they are inclusive and diverse. But are they really?
If you have knowledge of sign language, you will reach and connection will extend to the Deaf community and it prepares you for handling the language and communication barriers.
Its cliché, but sign language can help you and your workplace to become more diverse.
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Advantages Over Spoken Languages
Sign languages can be used when the spoken word is physically impossible, such as talking underwater, talking through glass, from a distance, at a loud music concert, and talking with your mouth full. Sign languages can also let you talk to someone without interrupting others with noise. You can tell your friend how much you hate the movie while in the cinema without disturbing anyone.
From Volunteer To White House Intern
Kaitlyn’s love of ASL was inspired by a deaf classmate in middle school. Since learning the language, she’s used her ASL skills as a White House intern and hopes to become psychologist for the Deaf after completing grad school!
ASL is deeply rooted in the Deaf Community and Culture. Studying ASL promotes better awareness of and sensitivity to the deaf and hard of hearing community. As someone proficient in ASL, you will develop a strong appreciation for deaf culture, and you can promote understanding and acceptance of the language among others.
Career Opportunities from Learning American Sign Language
One especially exciting career path open to bilingual hearing professionals is interpretation. There is a great need to increase the availability of qualified ASL interpreters in the community and mainstream programs in schools and colleges/universities. Some places interpreters are in demand include hospitals, courts, governmental agencies, community activities, and local, county, and state legislatures.
Likewise, professionals in public and private agencies and educational settingssuch as teachers, counselors, consultants, therapists, and specialistsuse ASL to serve the deaf and hard of hearing. Law enforcement and emergency response workers also benefit from a knowledge of ASL.
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Helpful For People With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder struggle developing verbal communication. Learning a sign language can be a helpful communication tool for some children with ASD. Many children with ASD have demonstrated higher quality communication when using a sign language instead of or in addition to a spoken language.
Improves Your Body Language Skills
As mentioned earlier, speaking in sign language is not just about using your hands and thats it.
There are other factors, like making eye contacts, facial expressions, gestures and other aspects of body languages that are important in communicating.
Because the alternative is a negative body language, like looking at your phone or looking around you whilst talking to someone.
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Be Able To Assist Those With Hearing Or Speaking Difficulties When Required
Since only a few people know how to sign, people who have difficulties in hearing and speaking face challenges in the world we live in.
For example, if you happen to be in a shop and spot a communication barrier between two people where a deaf person is involved, you can step in and assist by speaking and using sign language.
You can also sign up to volunteer in an organization where they need help from a person who is capable of doing sign language and speaking.
Stronger Bond Between Parents And Infants
Research has found that when parents teach infants and toddlers how to sign basic words, it can improve parent-child communication, and may even positively impact a childâs confidence and self-esteem in the long term.
Why? Young childrenâs inability to communicate about what theyâre feeling can often be a source of anger and frustration, both for the parents and the children. When a child is distraught, the ability to sign can prevent tantrums and frustration by allowing them to communicate their basic needs, whether theyâre hungry or in pain.
Sign language can also increase opportunities for parents and children to bond, because of the eye-to-eye and tactile contact it requires.
So at what age can babies begin to learn sign language? Research shows that with regular and consistent exposure, infants as young as eight months can already begin to recognise and use signs for familiar objects and concepts such as âhungryâ and âtired or âhotâ and âcold.â
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Why You Should Learn British Sign Language
British Sign Language is a helpful skill to have if you ever want to communicate effectively with deaf people. It consists of hand movements, hand shapes, as well as facial expressions and lip patterns to demonstrate what people want to say. It is estimated that 151,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language and, of these, 87,000 are Deaf. This makes it the second most used language in the UK after English, so its well worth to learn BSL!
However, there are only approximately 900 registered BSL interpreters in the UK, so they are in high demand. Therefore, it might be a good career option for you to learn BSL and become an interpreter. This article will provide you with more in-depth information on BSL and why you should learn it. So, without further ado, lets get started!
American Sign Language: Reasons To Learn Asl
Even if you are not hard of hearing and have no speaking problems, you can still learn one of the most wonderful languages, which is sign language. There are many reasons to learn ASL.
One of the several reasons to learn ASL is that there are people who are hard of hearing and speaking who solely use ASL to communicate with others. When you know how to do sign language, you are able to communicate with the deaf people and the deaf and mute community.
Before we dig deeper on why you should learn this type of language or communication, we must first understand what sign language is.
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Helps You To Become A Better Listener
Speaking in sign language requires you to fully focus and concentrate on the person speaking to you. Not only eye contacts is very important but you cant possibly sign words without physically looking at that word.
And its not just about the hand gestures, but its also to focus on their facial expressions and body movements that are as important in sign language as your hands are.
Because when speaking orally, it is easy to look elsewhere, use the phone while speaking, have your back towards them, etc.
And thats just not nice, is it?
Enhanced Ability To Interpret Body Language
Because it involves facial expressions and body language as well as hand gestures, learning sign language could also enhance your ability to recognise and interpret body language. Body language includes a range of nonverbal signals that people use to communicate their feelings and intentions, such as posture and facial expressions.
For one study, researchers from UC Davis and UC Irvine measured the response times of both deaf and hearing people to video clips that showed people making either ASL signs or non-language gestures, such as stroking their chin.
They discovered that the deaf people were not only better at recognising the ASL signs, but were also faster when it came to recognising the non-language gestures.
The researchers point out that this suggests that the human ability for communication is flexible and not limited to speech alone. Learning sign language can give us the ability to recognise non-language actions, and this is a valuable skill to develop, whether youâre interviewing job candidates or working in a public facing role.
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Important For Deaf People
Of course we cant ignore the most obvious reason why sign languages are awesome. Sign languages are an extremely important communication tool for many deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Sign languages are the native languages of the Deaf community and provide full access to communication. Although sign languages are used primarily by people who are deaf, they are also used by others, such as people who can hear but cant speak.
Boosts Your Communication Skills
Naturally, if you are able to converse fluently in sign language, you have overcome the communication barrier.
But if you are still in the learning phase, you can still overcome the communication barrier, provided that you are patient.
One time I was communicating with a Deaf individual, I didnt know what was the sign for business as I wanted to say that I run my own business when he asked me what do I do.
But since I didnt know the sign, I asked by making sure he can lipread me and he then showed me the sign for business.
Even if that wasnt possible, I would have either finger-spelled the word using the alphabets in BSL, or I would have written it down by phone or paper.
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Employers Love To See It On Your Resume
As the population of deaf people continues to grow in the United States, so does the number of deaf customers and consumers. Employers love to hire people who know American Sign Language because they can be the employers’ right-hand-man when a deaf customer needs help ordering off a menu or another deaf employee needs to communicate with the manager.
What Is Sign Language
Sign language is a visual language that uses hands, shapes, movements, and facial expressions to communicate words and sentences.
Within Britain, the most commonly used sign language is called British Sign Language . As a communication method, BSL has its own grammatical structure and syntax, and is not strongly related to spoken English.
In spoken English, you would say My name is Jack.
In BSL, it follows Name me Jack.
BSL also includes finger spelling as every letter of the alphabet has a sign. This can be used in case you ever forget certain words and sentences as you can spell out words instead. For younger children, or for those just starting out with sign language, this is highly useful as it still allows people to communicate.
In the UK, this BSL is used by over 145,000 people. After a lot of campaigning, sign language was finally recognised as an official minority language by the UK government in 2003. Since then, funding has increased to support those who are dead or have hearing impairments. It has now earned a similar status to other minority languages such as Welsh and Gaelic.
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