Reasons to Learn Sign Language
Sign Language is such an important language when it comes to being able to communicate with those that can’t speak in any other way. The deaf community is such an amazing group of people; it’s a shame for those that never have the chance to learn from them simply because they have no means of communication. In fact, many children that see signing in their homes will pick this language up sooner than they will learn to speak English. For these reasons, among many others, it is so important to learn at least the basics of sign language.
Imagine living life with one sense completely gone. For most everyone out there this is such an unnerving possibility that the thought of it makes them uneasy. Now imagine someone who lives with this every day of life and yet never seems to let it truly rule their life. That’s exactly the type of person that those who can’t sign will never get a chance to know.
Learning how someone who lives life without hearing is able to stay so positive can have an uplifting effect on anyone, and this is something that can only be experienced by learning Sign Language. The deaf community is filled with some of the most amazing stories that most of the world will never hear, simply because they don’t know how to sign. It’s one major reason that learning sign language can be such an interesting experience.
Imagine being able to communicate with a child much earlier than most others. That’s exactly what can happen if sign language is used in a home around children. The majority of children will be able to pick up and use parts of sign language before the have any realistic chance of using the English language. Yet another amazing way that learning and using sign language can be worth its weight in gold for those that take the time.
Fastest Way to Learn
When it comes to Sign Language, nothing makes the learning curve higher than using it on a daily basis. Practice makes perfect, and signing is proof of this more than most things. Getting to the point of being able to spell out most everything takes nothing more than some time and a willingness to learn.
Pushing forward quickly is easier in Sign Language than in almost any other language. Just remember that anyone who knows English already has mastered the most difficult language on earth, so sign language is a piece of cake!
Trying to learn to sign quickly is a matter of drive. Anyone who is willing to push themselves can learn to sign in a relatively short matter of time. One of the keys, however, is to know when it’s time to back off. Obviously this seems a bit backwards, taking time off to learn more quickly. Those few moments broken away from learning will seem quite insignificant compared with the time it takes to regain focus if it’s pushed to hard. Burnout is a serious concern when trying to learn a new language and signing is no different in that respect.
Finding the right way to learn is also quite important when trying to move forward quickly with Sign Language. Finding the right balance between studying and practicing is perhaps the most important thing to continue learning in an expedited manner. Too much studying and things begin to get lost because they aren’t being put to use. Too much practice and nothing new is being absorbed. Putting these two things in balance allows for forward momentum while avoiding having to go back and relearn anything that hasn’t been practiced enough.
So for anyone wanting to learn Sign Language quickly, pay attention to balance. This means both in terms of balancing the workload with break time as well as balancing study with use. If either of these stray out of balance, it can become frustrating and undermine the entire process. When that happens, all the work has been for nothing, and no one wants that.
Sign Language for Beginners
Sign Language for beginners can seem like such a daunting task. It took years to master the English language, so most assume it has to take just as long to learn to sign. This simply isn’t an accurate statement for those willing to put in the effort necessary to learn any new language, signing included. In fact, for most people, learning sign language is far easier than any other language.
Learning to sign is really just a matter of applying a gesture to something we already know. Many of us do this on a daily basis without truly realizing we are doing it. Everything from waving hello to showing frustration through hand gestures is a form of sign language. This mean the majority of those out there already have the mindset that it takes to learn sign language, they just need the ability to take it to the next level.
For a beginner trying to learn sign language it is important to start out with the very basics. No one starts reading in school without first learning the alphabet, and sign language is no different. Learning the alphabet is the perfect place to begin learning to sign. This reinforces the subconscious need to assign a value to everything within the language. These basics will also make those learning them far more confident once they begin trying to learn the more advanced parts of sign language. Having the alphabet allows a person to say anything they want to, even if they don’t know a specific word, by spelling it out.
So for those wanting to learn sign language but afraid that it’s just outside their grasp, remember that the first pieces of sign language are already in every day life. The most basic pieces of sign language have been within our grasp sign childhood. Moving toward the next level of sign language takes nothing more than having the want and taking the initiative.
Tips for Learning Sign Language
Greek Philosopher Aristotle once pronounced that “Deaf people cannot be educated without hearing.” Aristotle made this claim in the 3rd Century B.C., and it wasn’t until the 16th century A.D. that this belief was dis-proven. Geronimo Cardano proclaimed at this time that deaf people could learn and understand by using sign communications. With this, the first pieces of Sign Language were born, with the basic alphabet being given hand signed equivalents.
In 1620 the first book about teaching sign language to deaf people was published by Juan Pablo de Bonet. This book included the manual alphabet. This marked the first real move to make sign language actively available to a larger group of people.
In 1755 the first free school for deaf people was founded in Paris by Abbe Charles Michel de L’Epee. The school was used to demonstrate that the deaf community could develop a system of conventional gestures, hand signs, and finger spelling that would allow for communication with each other as well as with the rest of the world who could hear. This was the first real Sign Language, where hand signs were used to mean specific words, as opposed to only being able to spell out words one letter at a time.
Since this first basic Sign Language was developed it has been gradually growing and evolving since. While the use of sign language was once reserved to only those that were deaf and those that worked with the deaf, this has become less and less accurate in recent history. Sign language has become increasingly popular, particularly since it has come to light that babies are able to communicate manually before speaking vocally.
Sign language is an expressive and beautiful language, with an elegance not often found in any other language.
The first thing when trying to learn sign language is to find someone who can help you along the way. This can be choosing to take a classroom based course where many people will be around to ask if something isn’t clicking quite right. This can also mean finding out who around you already has a basic knowledge of signing. It’s amazing how many people know how to sign, yet those around them have no clue about it. Asking around about whether anyone knows how to sign can turn up a surprise or two to say the least.
Once a helping hand has been found, it’s important to practice as often as possible. One thing that can help a lot is learning along with someone else. If there are two people learning, the ability to practice is ever present. This is important because learning to sign is only half the battle. Becoming both accurate and quick with the movements will make the world of sign language come along much easier. There isn’t really any way to get faster and more accurate other than through practice.
Practice is important, but adding to what is already known is yet another key. If practice only ever involves what is already known, then the language will never grow for those that are trying to learn it. Throwing in a few new words every day while practicing is very important in continuing to move forward.
By following these few simple tips, it’s very easy to learn Sign Language. No one ever learned to sign without first learning a single word. Getting past the initial fear of trying to learn a new language is the hardest part of the process. Once that initial jump is made, the rest is all down hill, and can be a very rewarding experience indeed.