Which sign language should you learn? This is a common one for those who wants to go on that journey of learning it. And that is great.
By asking that question, it is hoped that you are looking to learn sign language for the right reason (communicate with deaf people) and not for social klouts like attention and because “it looks pretty”.
Hopefully, this episode will help give you a starting point and it will take you on a journey that will benefit so many people without you realising it.
You can watch the video below…
…listen to the podcast…
…or read the transcripts below.
Here is another common question that people ask a lot : “which language should I learn?”
Good question, because what people don’t realise is that there are hundreds of languages.
(“What you mean there isn’t a universal language? Oh, why should I bother?” Not that old stuff. I’ve talked about this topic below, you can check that out below.)
But the fact that you are asking that question will suggest that you’re curious about it and you know that there are so many out there.
In fact, there are hundreds of languages out there andit’s quite difficult then to work out which one to pick . So, which one should I choose to learn?
Think about the main reasons why you would want to learn sign language in the first place.
There could be three things, but maybe there are more you can let me know in a comment at the bottom.
1. To communicate with deaf people
One reason it could be because you want to communicate with deaf people. And that doesn’t mean that you want to communicate with strangers or people you don’t know. Even maybe a family member or friend, someone you know, that communicate only via sign language and you want to communicate with them.
2. It’s part of your volunteering or you want to be an interpreter
Maybe you want to do some volunteer work or maybe you want to train to be an interpreter, then it makes sense to learn sign language.
3. Learn about the culture, community and history
Maybe you also want to learn about the deaf culture, the deaf community, deaf history, which really should be part of your learning process. You want to make sure that you take all of those on board because they are so important when you are learning sign language.
What are the benefits of learning sign languages
There are at least 18 good reasons why you should learn sign languages. Can you think of them all?
So it makes sense when you think about all of these aspects, then you would learn a sign language that suits you.
And personally, I think you should learn the sign language that is native to your local area.
So whatever you’re choosing, in your local area, the local deaf community, and it’s by a native as well, that’s what you learn.
That ‘s the best thing for you because then you’ll be able to practise with them, you’ll be able to meet with them, able to communicate with them face -to -face and collaborate with them and build a relationship with them. You can do that face-to-face and in -person.
I know you can do it online with other people around the world. But really, why not just start with the local one first?
And maybe if you want to learn more, build it from there. But I think you just focus there and you can kind of build a connection with your local community and that’s the best way to do it.
Just think about the oral languages in general that we are familiar with; the French and Spanish and Mandarin.
It makes sense to learn whatever one that you are interested in. That’s fair enough.
And people tend to learn languages that are from other side of would OK, it could work, maybe you have someone local that you can practise with. But ths is the thing you need to practise to get better.
It’s impossible to be good at languages if you don’t practise it. Take it from me, I know . I learnt a few and it’s the best way to learn with someone you can practise with, who is a native, not just some fun novelty person who learnt the basic or learnt from watching videos and that’s it.
No, I’m talking about native signers in your local area . And that applies to any languages and it just makes sense to do that.
And even more important, then you’ll be able to pick up local dialect because they’re very difficult to learn online from resources and stuff like that.
It’s good to be able to learn local dialect. And even for me, the fact that right now I’m learning BSL, British Sign Language, I know that there are certain dialects here in Scotland, even in Edinburgh, that people in other parts of UK will not understand.
But that’s OK. That is the local dialect that I want to learn and then gradually learn about the rest of UK as well .
And that applies to you.
You could be in somewhere like the US and if you learn American Sign Language, you will have dialect that will make sense in one part of the US and then make something different in the other part of US.
And that’s just like any languages in the world. It doesn’t matter what language you choose. So expect that with sign languages. as well.
The most important thing to do when you are learning sign language is to learn it from the right people and learn it for the right reason. Don’t learn it because you want some social clout and you want some kind of social media engagement and you want to look cool or you want to sign song, then do the fun stuff.
No, think about what is the purpose of a sign language. It’s there to help communicate with deaf people.
Makes sense, right? Common sense.
But unfortunately, we still live in a time where people are doing it for the fun, for the clouts, and just to get there with Likes and engagement on social media.
And it’s such a shame that people do not because they are completely missing the point and that’s not the way to do it.
And that also applies to the way you are learning it. If you are learning from those who are also beginners it or doing it for fun. If you learn it from them, then you are at great risk of creating more oppression, which is that
- you’re not learning from the right sources ; people who know the language very well.
- you are at great risk of learning incorrect signs, which mean that it will spread even more and it will oppress sign language and deaf people even more.
So make sure you learn from the right people and the right resources. Check your local deaf community, local people in your area and go from there. You can’t go wrong as long as you do that and you do the right thing, and also don’t pick the easiest sign language to learn, (which, by the way, doesn’t exist), it’s good to hear that you want to learn and I hope you will go on that journey.
Let me know what you think. Let me know what sign language are you looking to learn in the comments?
I’d love to hear from you.
And maybe we can go on that journey together because I’m on a journey and it’s a really fun journey. It’s really, really fun to learn sign language.
And it’s something that I think everyone should learn, at least the basic stuff, learn the very basics and build it up from there. And I think it’s something that everyone will benefit from in the long term.
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