ABC's of BSL - A Seminar on British Sign Language Organized by ELL Department - International Burch University
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ABC’s of BSL – A Seminar on British Sign Language Organized by ELL Department

The English Language and Literature Department recently took the time to learn the ABC’s of BSL; part of the Linguistics Club, the seminar on British Sign Language offered a crash course on its basics, culture, and history.

The English Language and Literature Department recently took the time to learn the ABC’s of BSL; part of the Linguistics Club, the seminar on British Sign Language offered a crash course on its basics, culture, and history.

Uma Hamzic, a first-year ELL student, made learning sign language into a New Year’s Resolution. It was a spur of the moment decision to partake in the Linguistics Club, in an effort to spread the knowledge on dialects of sign languages.

The seminar went over the basics of fingerspelling the deaf alphabet, introducing oneself correctly, and sentence structure in BSL. Students then paired up to practice spelling their names, using body posture correctly, and learning a handful of other signs along the way.

“One common misconception is that sign language is universal,” Uma mentions at the start of the seminar. “American, British, French, and formerly Yugoslavic all have different signs and details. There are dialects like in any other language; a Londoner might not be able to understand the Deaf community in Sheffield. However,” she adds, “learning to pick up signs and spelling is enough to figure it out. The effort is what matters—sign languages are nuanced, but learning even 10% of the signs is enough to openly communicate.”

After the material was passed over, handouts and exercises were given, as well as sharing of resources in order to continue learning BSL.

“There’s been some interest,” Uma smiles. “It’s great; after all, even one person makes a difference.”