culture and the development of BSL to attendees, including myself. He highlighted the connections between sign language and metaphor, which piqued my interest. Furthermore, I had always wanted to learn a new language but had never progressed very far from the initial basics when trying to learn a foreign spoken language. Therefore, after the taster session, I decided to commit and try my hand at learning BSL.
After learning the staple for signing – finger-spelling – the classes covered topics on health, directions, numbers, colours, family, animals, food and drink, weather, work, and describing places. I was excited to learn that the society offered the opportunity to gain a level 1 BSL qualification by taking 3 exams during the course. With excellent tuition from a professional deaf tutor, learning BSL was not only educational but also fun and I looked forward to attending class every week to converse in sign.
Recent campaigns in advertising, film, and social media have helped to increase the awareness of the deaf community; in particular The Silent Child and Deaf Awareness Week. As a hearing person myself, deaf culture fascinates me and I am always interested to hear about how deaf people navigate both their own world and the hearing world, their customs, and communities, because often they are quite different from the culture I know.
After completing my third and final exam in level 1 BSL, I am certainly going to continue learning the language, not only because it holds, for me, academic and social interest, but also because I have very much enjoyed learning a language that is completely different from anything else I have ever known while also being quite familiar. For those of you wondering what sign language is all about, look it up and attend a taster session at a community group near you. Learning sign is so much fun and the more hearing people know about it, the more we can raise awareness, improve educational standards for deaf people, and also bridge the divide between the deaf and hearing worlds!
© Copyright Samantha Ford 2018