How to Learn Sign Language

Sign Language is quickly becoming one of the most popular languages to learn. There are a number of great reasons to learn this language-from gaining a stronger appreciation of deaf culture to pursuing a career as a certified ASL interpreter.

If you’re considering learning Sign Language, you might not know where to start. That’s okay. In this article, you’re going to find out exactly how to learn Sign Language.

  1. Find an ASL course — Of course, the first thing you need to do if you want to learn Sign Language is to find a course that can teach you. Needless to say, there are more than a few options here. You can take an ASL course online, enroll in one at the local community college, get a self study Sign Language book, and so on. For many, taking an online ASL course is the best option as it’s inexpensive, fits any schedule, and connects you with qualified instructors.
  2. Start with the basics — If you’re wondering how to learn Sign Language, you need to start with the basics. It’s just like any other language. You need to learn the alphabet and commonly used words before moving forward. The alphabet is particularly important in American Sign Language as you can use it to spell out words that you don’t know the sign for.
  3. Practice regularly — You can’t expect to master the art of American Sign Language if you don’t practice it regularly. This means making flash cards, testing yourself outside of class, and interacting with deaf people in real life scenarios. If you don’t have any deaf friends, consider volunteering at a local school for the deaf or connecting with a language partner online through a webcam. No amount of book knowledge can substitute for actually practicing the language in a real world setting.
  4. Don’t just take a short course and forget about it — One reason many people fail to fully learn Sign Language is because they enroll in a course that lasts a few weeks and then stop learning once the course is up. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, that’s not enough time to master ASL. That’s why online Sign Language courses are so valuable. You simply pay a low monthly fee to access unlimited training for as long as you’d like. This helps you get past the basics so you can move onto the more intricate parts of Sign Language that aren’t taught in most beginner courses. A long-term commitment is crucial to truly learning Sign Language.
  5. Get a sign dictionary — Anyone who wants to know how to learn Sign Language should immediately purchase a sign dictionary. These come in handy for learning new words and brushing up on the old ones you might have forgotten. One word of warning: don’t make your Sign Language dictionary your only source of learning because ASL involves a lot of 3 dimensional hand movements that can’t be properly explained in a dictionary.

Now that you know how to learn Sign Language, go out there and get started today!