When it comes to exercise or learning an instrument, short but regular intervals are more effective than large, infrequent intervals, and the same can be said for learning sign language. Sticking to consistent schedules helps to engage the brain and open up deep cognitive processes which allows it to retain information and make connections between yesterday’s learnings and today’s new learnings.
There’s no doubt that one hour of learning sign language a day is going to be more beneficial for you than a four-hour session. But how long does it take to learn sign language and is sign language hard to learn? It is said to take 480 hours of practising another language to reach basic fluency – that’s 20 days, but to become fluent in sign language could take several years. Sign language is said to be relatively easy to learn, however, it is not universal so you can expect there to be differences even between British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL).
Top Language Jobs has put together a list of things you can do to help you on your way to learning sign language.
Watch sign language videos
Before diving straight into learning sign language, watching videos on YouTube or the BSL website can make for a welcoming introduction. By familiarising yourself with sign language before signing up for a class or online course, you can set yourself up for success.
Like any new interest, it’s good to get a feel for the topic first.
Sign up for an online sign language course
If day or evening sign language classes aren’t convenient for you, there are online courses you can sign up for with BSL. There are tutored courses from level 1 to level 6 and an independent deaf awareness course for those that wish to gain a better understanding before signing up for tuition.
Online sign language courses are much more flexible than in-person classes as these can be done whenever you’re free to sit down and learn.
Take a sign language class
It’s likely that your local community centre or educational centre provides sign language evening classes. Ask around or search online for sign language classes near you, it’s likely there will be day and evening classes where you can learn finger spellings and greetings as well as topics such as family, weather, transport and more!
Sitting in a class with other like-minded individuals presents you with the opportunity to practice sign language and meet with new people. For some, learning with others is more encouraging and a good investment, as you can ask questions along the way too.
Hire a private tutor
If you’re looking to learn sign language quickly, hiring a private tutor will help. Scheduling one-to-one sessions with a qualified professional comes with a whole host of benefits.
Having a tutor’s undivided attention can create a stress-free environment and boost confidence, allowing you to ask all the questions you may have on your journey to sign language fluency. Not only that but you can receive personalised feedback, ensuring your signs are perfect and any areas of concern can be addressed.
Watch and learn from sign language interpreters
Body language helps to communicate mood and emotions, which is why it’s important to watch and learn – even in your leisure time. Where there’s the option to, opt for TV shows that have a sign language interpreter, you may not realise it but you’ll naturally absorb new information.
Commuting to work, playing on your phone in the morning whilst sipping a coffee? Download a sign language app, some are free, some come with a price but try out the free ones first and have a go!
Mixing up the way you learn sign language will help you to better understand how you retain information best. And with an app, you’re more likely to use it on the go and in short stints, which likely means it’ll be beneficial for your progress.
Join social groups
You can use social media to find deaf people groups or you can contact your local deaf charity or organisation to help you find a club to sign with. These groups tend to have frequent social meetings – a great opportunity for you to meet the community and learn from others.
Ask someone who knows sign language to help you
It should go without saying but if you have a friend or family member who knows sign language, why not book in some time once a month to run through everything you have learned. When learning something new, repetition is key, and so having a freestyle sign session with a familiar face is bound to boost your confidence and your skills.
Pick up a sign language dictionary
Purchase a pocket sign language dictionary and take it with you on the go. If you’re daydreaming about sign language and have forgotten a phrase, your dictionary can help you to keep your mind active and your signs spot on!
Put your language skills to good use – find the perfect job here!
There are many advantages of sign language and any language for that matter – but if you’re specifically looking to put your newfound sign language skills to good use, use our job search engine to find the perfect sign language job. Use our filters and location options to help narrow down the jobs best suited to you, and when you find an exciting opportunity, sign up/sign in, upload or build your resumé and get applying!