Sign Language Basics for Beginners
Sign Language Basics You Must Know as a Beginner
You may think Sign Language basics for beginners has a lot to do with the signs themselves, but that is only a small part of it.
You've made the decision to learn Sign Language...Yay! Now let's make sure you start off on the right foot. OK, the mistake a lot of newbies to the language make is trying to go too fast! I know you are excited, but there are some things that you MUST know before you lift a finger. Trust me you will be glad you have these things in mind once you really start getting into the nitty gritty of Sign Language.
Now, if you are learning Sign Language at home these tips are especially important for you. This information will clear up a lot of confusion, and make your journey to fluency a lot less bumpy.
So, let's get started with those tips for Sign Language Basics for Beginners!
Beginner Sign Language Basics #1
American Sign Language Is Not English
Uh huh, you read that right. Although American Sign Language uses English words it does not follow the same grammar rules as English. If you were to try to speak American Sign Language out loud sign-for-sign, it would not make a lot of sense to your ears.
Think of it as trying to translate Spanish word for word into English. It does not make sense to us as English Speakers because Spanish has different grammar rules. Same thing applies to Sign Language.
So this is a biggie to Keep in mind when you are first starting out.
Beginner Sign Language Basics #2
Sign Language Is Not Universal
Well, push me down and call me Edna. That's right, you can't learn American Sign Language and then go to France and speak to a Deaf person who is French. Unless of course they have learned American Sign Language.
So, if you want to learn Spanish or French Sign Language, well, you will have to learn both of those languages. Sorry :(
But, the good news is a lot of other countries learn American Sign Language as a foreign language, so chances are you may meet someone you can communicate with. All is not lost.
Beginner Sign Language Basics #3
Handshape in Sign Language Is Very Important
One thing that I notice when I teach Sign Language is some students have a hard time making the handshapes correctly. This may take more practice for some, because your hands are not used to making these shapes.
This is why it is important to learn the correct shapes at the very beginning so you do not have to unlearn any bad habits. In Sign Language sometimes the slightest variation can change the meaning of a sign completely.
The best thing you can do to remedy this is Practice! Practice! Practice!
Learn the Sign Language alphabet backwards and forwards. This will help you a great deal once you start putting words together and when you start reading other peoples signs.
Beginner Sign Language Basics #4 - Practice, Practice, Practice!
If you are just starting to learn Sign Language, getting in the habit of practicing your Sign Language alphabet everyday is a great start. Use this video to get started.
Be sure to watch how he forms the letters and sign along with the video. He also gives some great tips on how not to sign the letters, pay attention to these as well.
Eventually, you will want to begin your own video library at home. I have been signing since the age of two, but I still buy videos to keep my skills up.