Updated: Oct 12
There are so many great reasons to pick up sign language. In addition to allowing the deaf and hard of hearing to effectively communicate with others, American Sign Language and other forms can allow anyone to experience a number of great benefits. While learning a new language might seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. Here are five great methods to easily learn how to sign.
Use an app
Technology has made it increasingly easier to learn a new language, and there are plenty of great apps out there that allow you to pick up sign language on a smartphone or tablet. Some apps are free to use and offer in-app purchases. For example, Hands On ASL is a free app that teaches users how to fingerspell using 3D models and gives yout the option of purchasing extra content within the app. Other apps require a small download fee or offer a subscription-based service. For example, Baby Sign Dictionary ASL is an app that costs a small download fee and helps parents learn to sign with their babies.
Watch YouTube videos
If you are interested in learning sign language for free, YouTube videos are a great resource. Whether you are just interested in learning how to fingerspell or you would like to study more advanced topics like classifiers, YouTube has plenty of options. Doctor Bill Vicars is an experienced ASL educator who offers plenty of lesson videos on his channel, and he is just one of many popular sign language experts who offer free learning resources on YouTube.
Take online classes
Taking classes is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language, and the internet has made some of the best sign language courses even more accessible. Some online classes, such as ASL with Meredith, offer a great option for beginners to learn at their own pace. If you are interested in studying more advanced sign language techniques, Gallaudet University offers five levels of classes for a tuition fee.
While you might not become totally fluent just from watching interpreters work, you would be surprised how many signs and techniques you can learn. The next time you attend an event where there is a sign language interpreter, try focusing on what they’re doing. There’s a good chance you will start to pick up various signs based on how the interpretation corresponds to the spoken words.
Read books on sign language
Sometimes the best way to learn something new is to crack open a book. There is plenty of literature available for anyone who is curious about learning ASL. Parents can find books on how to communicate through sign language with their babies, and more advanced signers can find texts like ASL dictionaries to expand their vocabulary. There are also some great books that help children learn about sign language in an entertaining way. For example, My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere with Me is a picture book that teaches kids how to use sign language for simple conversations.
With so many great resources at our fingertips, it is now easier than ever to learn sign language. No matter which method you choose, you can experience a number of great benefits from learning to sign. So, pick a method that appeals to you and let the learning begin!