We make countless little gestures in our everyday.

Whether it's putting our index finder to our lips to indicate 'sshhh' or raising a hand to stop a taxi, these universal gestures are examples of basic sign language in its standard form.

For hard-of-hearing people, the perks of taking sign language classes are undeniable. However, what about the benefits for people who can hear?

For starters, everyone should know what is ASL (American Sign Language). Learning it helps you communicate and interact with ASL signers around the world.

Gallaudet University's research revealed that ASL is the fourth most common language studied in the United States.

Knowing American Sign Language gives a person the ability to build relationships with deaf people and enjoy the richness and culture of the Deaf community.

Beyond communication with deaf people, sign language is an extremely versatile language. It can be utilized to communicate underwater, at a great distance, in total silence, and in a loud environment.

A person's hands signing a word
It takes keen interest and exquisite focus to learn the basic sign language. The scripted videos and self-paced sign language lessons from Superprof can help! (Source: Unsplash)

So, would you believe me if I told you that the benefits of taking sign language classes go beyond communication, connection, and convenience?

Whether you want to polish already acquired sign language speaking and comprehension skills or like to learn from scratch — turn to Superprof! We have many experts on board to help you reach fluency.

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What You Should Know About Sign Language

Basic sign language is a language that leverages the visual-manual modality to convey a message.

Sign language is not a universal language – every country has its own sign language, and each region has its dialect, just like many languages are spoken globally.

Sign language is a visual language. With signs, the brain processes linguistic information from the eyes.

The shape, movement, and placement of the hands and body movement, and facial expressions all contribute a major role in conveying the information.

Sign language is a complete natural language with its own set of grammar, rules, and lexicon.

In sign language classes, any message is taught to be conveyed through physical expressions combined with non-manual elements.

What You Should Know About American Sign Language

American Sign Language is spoken predominantly in the US and some parts of Canada.

ASL is quite different from sign English and its European counterpart. It has various techniques of learning due to geographical dialects and slang.

Using ASL involves participation and movement of the eyes, hands, face, and body. The vocabulary, syntax, and grammar of ASL require more attention than learning signs, letters, and fingerspelling.

Who Can Learn Sign Language

Sign language is neither universal nor international. Every country develops its own deaf community, each with its own sign language despite some similarities between universal signed and grammatical features.

Since every country develops its own sign language, each has different fingerspelling techniques and hand forms.

These, in some way, maybe culturally or traditionally unacceptable and inappropriate in other sign languages.

Whether it's for the sake of a hobby or as a need, anyone can learn sign language. However, the following list entails who are usual learners:

  • Deaf people
  • People with hearing impairment
  • Parents or relatives of deaf or hard-of-hearing people
  • Professors or educators who teach deaf or hard of hearing student
  • First responders; hearing loss in older adults
  • Service providers, such as; social workers, psychologists, therapists, etc.
  • Professionals who interact with deaf or hard of hearing people
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The Various Types Of Sign Language To Learn

If planning to learn a sign language, it's essential to understand which type of sign language one wants to learn. The sign language should be based on the verbal language used in your living community.

For example, there is American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL), and many other languages based on the geographical aspect.

The sign language you choose to learn should be based on where you live and what type of verbal language is used in your community.

However, basic sign language is divided into three main sections. They are:

 SectionWhat it Teaches
1.Deaf Sign LanguageThe preferred language of deaf communities across the world. It's a visual language in which a person conveys their message through facial expressions and hands and body movements.
2.Auxiliary Sign LanguageSign language which has sign system including; complexities alongside spoken language. Gestures aren't included in this section.
3.Manual Coded LanguageA language taught to bridge the gap between sign and spoken language.

The Methods To Self-Teach Basic Sign Language

As the 4th most studied and 1st widely used language in the United States – learning basic sign language is a perfect choice.

Basic sign language can easily and quickly be self-taught based on visual expressions and body movements.

Before you learn basic sign language, the table below describes the fundamentals of sign language, which can Kickstart your learning process.

Fundamentals of Sign Language
Learning the Alphabets
Mastering the Visual Movement Grammar
Understanding the Movement Patterns (Hand and Body Language)
Working on Comprehension
Fingerspelling the Words through Manual Movements

The methods described below can be taken to explore the rich vocabulary, manual patterns, and intellectual techniques of sign language.

About The Importance Of Online Sign Language Classes

If you're planning on learning basic sign language, one of the best ways to do it is by enrolling yourself in an online language course.

Often community colleges, centers, and other educational sites such as Superprof can offer qualified sign language learning classes.

Since sign language is a visual language, online classes can enhance students' ability to concentrate on visual learning.

Moreover, most online classes, especially sign language classes, are often asynchronous or self-paced – meaning the student has ultimate control to complete the coursework on their own time.

However, they still are required to meet the deadlines.

It's a practical learning pattern that offers flexibility and productivity for students.

The qualified sign language tutors at Superprof can help you attain sign language technical and intellectual capabilities. Online sign language classes enable students to practice and master the language quickly.

Watching Videos Is An Excellent Way To Learn ASL

Video-based learning is one of the best learning methods that sparks curiosity and motivates students. Sign language through short video clips or gifs is the perfect learning medium.

The short video clips and gifs provide the learner with more efficient processing and memory recall.

The looping and repetitive format of the short video clips make this a perfect tool for learning and adapting new signs.

The auditory and visual nature of the video allows the students to process and understand the information to their own learning ability.

So, if you're thinking of self-teaching the American Sign Language, any video clip is a great way to learn as it allows you to replay it as many times as you want within the comfort of your own home.

How Joining A Deaf Group Or Community Helps Improve ASL Skills

Many countries and cities host deaf clubs and groups where people, deaf or not, meet regularly and practice sign language as their primary form of communication.

These types of groups and communities provide the much-needed environment and social support required to master basic sign language.

Interacting with those who know sign language can enhance your ability to pick and master the language.

It opens the doors for sign language learners that would otherwise not be possible through technical and instructional classes alone.

How To Use Mobile Applications To Learn ASL

There is a mobile app for almost everything. Each of them makes your life convenient in some way. So, there are tons of mobile applications which can assist you in learning basic sign language.

The sign language application accommodates learners of different levels, from beginner to proficient.

They include sign language classes in which a person learns how to read the sign language letters and alphabets.

Moreover, these apps are highly customizable, allowing an individual to search for any particular word that they need to learn in sign language at the moment.

Mobile application is one of the best learning tools which can enhance your self-teaching process of sign language.

These applications offer scripts associated with sign illustrations, making it easy to learn ASL alphabets. Using an app allows you to learn at your own pace and preference. 

With so many methods at your disposal, your inner dedication and motivation are the only thing to keep you from mastering the American Sign Language. Choose the way that best suits you.

A sign language interpreter
Learning basic sign language develops an appreciation for the deaf culture. Enrolling in online sign language classes offered by Superprof can help promote better awareness of the deaf community. (Source: Visual Hunt)

What Are The Benefits Of Learning Sign Language?

Deaf or not, learning sign language provides endless cognitive and career benefits. American Sign Language (ASL) has been considered one of the primary means of communication for the deaf for decades.

Apart from deaf and hard-of-hearing people, the practice of teaching basic sign language has gained popularity globally.

Like French, Spanish, and any other foreign language, the American Sign Language is classified as a world language. As a result, if a person speaks sign language, they are considered bilingual.

Some major benefits of learning a sign language are:

  • Learning basic sign language stimulates the human brain and improves cognitive activity. It also enhances a person's learning, communication, listening, and creative thinking skills
  • Research conducted by the University of Sheffield revealed that attending sign language classes trains the student to process situations more calmly, has better reaction time, and improves focus, spatial awareness, and peripheral vision
  • Sign language is not just limited to communicating with deaf or hard-of-hearing people. Knowing how to use sign language can also help you communicate and interact with animals and pets
  • It also develops a sense of humanity. Sign language introduces people to different communities, thoughts, and difficulties of deaf and hard hearing people
  • Sign language helps in improving the small motor skills as it requires the dexterity needed to communicate with body gestures
A person putting on a hearing aid
Confused about your career? Become a professional interpreter by learning the basic sign language to serve the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. (Source: Unsplash)

Want To Learn Sign Language With Superprof

No matter which medium you choose to learn sign language, dedication and practice are the keys. Superprof offers basic sign language courses, ranging from beginner to advanced levels.

We provide comprehensive lessons on fingerspelling, hand gesture, movement pattern to master the skill of this visual language.

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