Looking to learn Sign Language for free? Why not start with the essential greetings that help Deaf people feel welcome. This clip from Youtube shows you how to sign a number of BSL greetings and phrases:
BSL signs in the video:
There are lots of BSL greetings and basic phrases in this video. This video was chosen as it covers what most fluent signers would consider being the most essential signs.
- 1.Hello, 2. Good morning 3. Good afternoon 4. Good evening 5. Goodnight 6. Bye 7. See you later 8. See you soon 9. See you tomorrow
- 10. Welcome, 11. Hello, welcome 12. Nice to see you 13. Haven’t seen you in ages! 14. I’m surprised to see you 15. How are you? 16. Are you feeling better? 17. My name is Dan (Name me Dan) 18. What’s your name? (Name you what?) 19. How can I help you? (Help me-to-you how?)
- 20. Can you help me (Help you-to-me can?) 21. Please 22. Thank you 23. Sorry, 24. Apology 25. Excuse me 26. Bless you, 27. Stay safe 28. Be careful please 29. Wait
- 30. Wait there please 31. Again please 32. Slow please 33. I know a little sign language (Sign language I know little).
How long does it take to learn BSL?
Honest answer – It depends. You can learn some basic signs within an hour or so from youtube video clips. However, if you want to learn more than just a few signs, it is always recommended that you learn from a qualified deaf tutor. You gain a better understanding of the language as well as an understanding of Deaf Culture. Learning BSL ultimately depends on your motivation to learn and affordability. Unfortunately, the UK government does not fund BSL courses which is why bona fide accredited courses cost so much (average cost is around £350 – £450 inclusive of exams).
Can I learn BSL for free?
Yes, you can. You can use Youtube or you can sign up for a free Level 1 course with Doncaster Deaf Trust. The Deaf Trust received National Lottery funding to create this free Level 1 course. The course is a video course with content that covers the awarding body’s (Signature) curriculum. You can definitely learn for free but unfortunately, you cannot do the assessments for free.
Theoretically, you could go through the online course content and then contact a local registered assessment centre to book your assessments. The centre would need to assess whether your signing is at Level 1 standard or if you need guided tutor sessions (which will obviously increase your costs). The cost of assessments is usually around £100 – £150 which covers the assessment fees and any additional administration costs for arranging your exams. Don’t forget that if you need additional tutorials, your costs will increase too. This is why learning with others on an approved course can actually work out cheaper.
You may be someone who is happy to dive straight into a course. If you want to do a course make sure you know which courses are Ofqual approved.
BSL Greetings make people feel welcome
Learning BSL takes time. If you are short on time, just learning basic BSL greetings can really help to make Deaf people feel welcome. Older Deaf people, in particular, find it reassuring to meet someone who has a rudimentary knowledge of BSL. Learning greetings shows you are making an effort to communicate and meet a deaf person’s needs.
BSL – left hand or right hand?
Many beginners get confused about which hand to use when signing. Make sure you pick resources like our fingerspelling post that provides information about left-hand/right-hand signing.
Free BSL learning resources
There are lots of free and cheap resources online. Be aware that video courses (like Doncaster Deaf Trust) are a set of pre-recorded clips for you to watch so there is no tutor interaction to tell if you are signing incorrectly. You also need to remember that some resources may show you a sign that is from a specific region. BSL has regional variations (just like accents) so if you are planning to learn from videos make sure it is from a resource with signs from your region.
If you prefer or need BSL greetings as a paper-based resource, you can check out Twinkl or british-sign. Please bear in mind that BSL is a visual language – many learners prefer video clips because they are clearer to follow than paper-based ones.
What greetings or phrases would you really like to learn? Let us know in the comments below