Looking for up-to-date information on how long does it take to learn sign language? Hold on! You are at the right place.
Sign languages have some specificities to consider before starting learning them. You only have to do is keep reading to find out.
9 Elements About – How Long Does It Take To Learn Sign Language?
The time it will take to learn sign language varies. Depending on a student’s aptitude, they may learn a new sign in a few hours.
Moreover, it may take a week for the student to move on to the next sign. Do you know the basics of American Sign Language are easy to learn? That too in as little as 60 to 90 hours?
Learning a new language can take two to six months. Here we will discuss some elements that will be helpful to know how long does it take to learn a sign language!
1. Does Sign Language Differ Between Countries?
A frequent question arises: Does sign language differ from country to country? English-speaking countries, including the US (ASL), UK (BSL) use many sign languages.
Ireland has its sign language (ISL). It is from French Sign Language but has similarities to BSL.
Chinese Sign Language (CSL or ZGS) is one of the most used sign languages in the world, with up to 20 million users.
Almost three million people worldwide use Brazilian Sign Language. At the same time, 1.8 million people use Indo-Pakistani Sign Language.
2. Myths About Sign Language:
Some myths are also the kinds of questions we used to have in our minds for so long. Let us discuss them one by one:
1. There Is Only One Sign Language:
New signs and sign languages are constantly emerging. Nicaraguan Sign Language, for example, appeared in 1980. Even if two countries share a common language, their sign languages will differ.
Although their languages are all English, ASL and BSL are incoherent. Even within the same country, many sign languages may exist.
2. American Sign Language Is Not A Real Language:
If I highlight the myth about one of the most used sign language-American sign language is that it is not real. It is more than a simplified or reduced version of English.
It is more used to teach English to Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing students. American Sign Language and English have nothing in common.
Many ASL-signers also have learned English. This is because of growing up in an English-speaking country. ASL has its grammar, vocabulary, idioms, and word order.
There are thousands of signs in ASL. It’s always changing as technology and culture (including Deaf culture) evolves.
3. Sign Language Only Uses Hand Movement:
It appears that sign language has bases lie on hand movements. While this is not false, it is a little incomplete.
Sign language is more than the shapes you make with your hands. It’s also about your body language. They show a distinction between a question and a statement raised eyebrows.
To prove that you did something, you must show your refusal on your face. Smiling conveys excitement.
You must move your lips as well. For example, while signing “finish,” you need to mouth the word “fish” as well. It is not optional; it is an integral part of the sign.
4. It Is Not Possible To Have An Accent:
You don’t have to worry about vowel pronunciation or tongue placement when you sign. You are only moving your body. As a result, having an accent is impossible. Right?
Sign languages have a variety of accents. It is clear where you are from and whether a particular sign language was your first language or not.
Based on your speed, hand placement, and even finger elongation, it describes you. New Yorkers are famous for speaking fast, which translates into faster signing.
In contrast, someone with a Southern drawl may take their time to sign. Native signers can often tell if you aren’t fluent in the language.
But, as with a spoken language, do not let that deter you. When people notice your accent, they usually appreciate the time you’ve taken to learn!
3. Factors Matter In Learning A Sign Language Without Difficulties:
Now we will discuss some important factors. You should consider these while learning any sign language.
1. Factor-Your Goals:
It will take several years to sign like a native signer, with no “hearing” accent. Many interpreters report being mistaken for “not-native” signers.
But, as with any language, your primary goal should be comprehension and communication. It makes no difference if you speak with an accent as long as people understand you.
Yet, there are many goals between “no signing at all” and “perfect native fluency.” You can try to communicate with Hard-of-Hearing (HoH) people in your community on a basic level.
With diligent practice, this could take only a few months. Then you don’t need to take a formal sign language class to do so.
2. Try To Involve With HoH Community:
Being truly fluent in sign language requires more than daily practice. That is also beneficial too. Moreover, it is also about becoming immersed in a different culture.
Without any language, you cannot learn the culture. Without culture, any language has no reference. For example, when learning a spoken language like French, Chinese, etc., you may reach some level.
You can also achieve this level of immersion by reading books or listening to music in the language. It is not always that simple.
The amount of popular material created by and for Deaf people exist. But it is much smaller than native materials produced for many other languages.
The more you are around community members, the more you will learn the language. That would be natural and within less time.
4. Kinds Of Learner :
Your learning style is the most effective way to absorb and keep information. Following are some kinds of learners.
– Auditory learners
– Visual learners
– Reading/writing learners
For Auditory Learners:
You will not be able to listen to songs. Yet you will be able to find interpretations of your favorite songs and sign along with the music.
For Visual Learners:
Consider drawing diagrams to remember various hand signs and movements. Practice in front of a mirror to learn what each sign looks like and better remember it.
For Reading/Writing Learners:
Try taking notes and using mnemonics to help you remember each sign. You can also write out each word’s directions and movements.
5. How Long Does It Take To Learn Sign Language- Cultural Rules Of Behaviour:
You should consider some cultural rules when using Sign Language to help you “fit in” a little better.
– It is impolite to lose eye contact with someone signing to you.
– It is necessary to use descriptive facial expressions and body movements.
– Expressions and movements are important to describe emotions. Also, to add meaning to a conversation.
– We can express labels in various ways, some of which are superior to others. That is unlikely to come up in a conversation.
– Because the Deaf Community is a smaller group of people, it’s nice to have things in common between you and them. Show them your concerns while signing.
Now, it is high time to discuss the essential element. The part is the duration of learning, American Sign Language.
6. American Sign Language (ASL) -How Long Does It Take To Learn Sign Language?
The most used sign language is American Sign Language (ASL). Signers are from the United States and Canada and parts of Mexico, Africa, and Asia.
You will need to master a total of 26 different ASL hand signs when learning American Sign Language.
When we say that learning ASL can take as little as 60 to 90 hours, we only mean that this is approximate. That is the time to memorize the ASL alphabet.
You will also need to learn how to use different hand shapes and facial expressions. That should be before you can start having conversations in sign language.
You will need to begin interacting with actual deaf people. Formal practice is necessary if you want to start meaningful conversations in ASL.
7. How To Learn ASL Faster?
The quickest way to learn ASL is to enroll in classes to receive formal instruction. There, you will get it from native ASL speakers. But, in the current Covid-19 era, this is easier said than done.
Luckily, there is some good news. Several reputable online courses are now available. These courses make it simple to learn basic and even advanced level ASL.
1. Regularly Study A Sign Language Dictionary:
When you’re unsure how to sign something, you can use a sign language dictionary to help you out. Additionally, download an ASL keyboard like Signily to your phones for daily practice.
As a result, you’ll be able to switch back and forth to your regular keyboard. That is when you forget a letter and learn sign language faster.
2. Look Out For Others:
Choosing to remain active in deaf communities will allow you to observe and practice. Your signing in a relaxed setting will enable you to improve.
If you’re not involved in a deaf community, do not worry! There are many free resources available online. You can also watch them.
8. It Is Not All About Hands In ASL-There Is Much More That Can Take Time:
A large part of sign language is not how you shape or move your hands. There are several other factors at work, some of which are as follows:
If you look at the hands and how they move, the sign for man and woman (or brother and sister) is also the same.
On the other hand, Male words are usually signed around the brow. In comparison, female words are also signed from or around the chin.
2. Direction pointed:
Your dominant hand’s palm. The location of your finger (as well as your non-dominant hand) is also critical to the meaning of the word.
3. Distance and method of transportation:
To sign “really big,” you would sign big but separate your hands. Even you change your facial expressions as well.
You raise your brows when answering Yes/No questions. It is also when discussing something positive. Furrowing your brow indicates that you are asking a WH- question (why, where, when, etc.)
9. Where Can I Take Classes To Learn ASL In Shorter Time?
You can also choose from various ASL classes to learn sign language. Many people choose to take courses at a community college as one of their options.
That is a more expensive method of learning sign language. Others go to local language clubs or organizations that offer more affordable classes.
ASL English Interpretation Program:
The American Sign Language-English Interpretation Program (AEIP) is a rigorous two-year academic program.
It also prepares selected ASL-fluent individuals to work. As ASL-English interpreters, with a special emphasis on interpreting in educational settings.
Furthermore, sign language also interpreters never stop learning new things. For the rest of their interpreting careers, vocabulary, grammatical rules, etc.
Let’s move towards some tips that will help you tackle the question: how long does it take to learn sign language?
13 Tips And Tricks To Learn Sign Language Faster And In Easier Way:
Here are some great pointers to help you improve your Sign language skills faster! If you try these suggestions, sign language will become more enjoyable.
1. Learn The 100 Most Important Vocabulary:
To begin communicating, you must first learn some basic vocabulary. At the start of your sign language journey, you should focus on learning the basics. These fundamentals are “hello,” “thank you,” etc.
2. Learning Of Finger Alphabet:
Knowing the alphabet can give you the skill to sign any word. Thus, if you forget a sign, you can spell it.
To improve your fingerspelling, try spelling objects you see around you. The spelling goes like such as L-A-P-T-O-P or M-A-C-H-I-N-E.
3. Find A Practice Partner Or Join Your Local Deaf Community:
You need people to interact with to have a conversation. There is a Deaf community in almost every city or town. Attend meetups and surround yourself with people who can sign.
Don’t be shy about starting conversations and signing right away. Don’t be afraid to approach other ASL users once you’ve learned some basic words. Try to have a conversation and start signing.
5. Apply The Pareto Principle:
Have you ever heard about the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule? According to the Pareto principle, roughly 80% of the effects result from 20% of the causes.
In terms of learning, 20% of what you learn contributes to 80% of your total sign language improvement. This would help you to learn sign language easily.
6. Keep Track Of Your Progress:
Tracking your progress will encourage you to continue learning ASL. Making weekly videos of yourself signing is also an excellent way to keep track of your progress.
You could keep the videos for yourself and watch those months later. This would be helpful for you.
7. Get Motivation By Setting Goals:
Setting daily, weekly, or monthly goals may help you stay motivated. Following are some examples:
– Learn five signs daily.
– Have one sign language conversation, every week.
– Try to learn 20 new phrases, each month.
– Examine your finger alphabet.
8. Keep It Fun:
That is the most important piece of advice. Continue to make learning ASL enjoyable! If you don’t enjoy learning ASL, you’ll most likely lose motivation and stop.
Also, keep in mind why you’re learning sign language. Knowing what you want to achieve will keep you learning.
9. Word Lookup:
If you think of a word for which you want to know the sign, you should also look it up as soon as possible so that you don’t forget.
To make things easier, carry a small ASL English dictionary with you. You can also download an app on your smartphone.
10. Do Not Be Concerned About Being Perfect:
One of the reasons children learn faster than adults is that they are not afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is also an important part of learning.
Most adults are also self-conscious and believe they should not make mistakes. Make no apologies for making mistakes. Act more childlike, and you will learn more quickly. Nobody will pass judgment on you.
11. Create Good Habits:
Keep in mind that consistency, not intensity, is more important. Every day, practice sign language!
You are not required to study for an hour every day. It only takes 5-10 minutes to improve your skills. Try to keep the game going!
12. Make Your Form As Clearly As Possible:
It is also critical to maintain your form at all times. That entails locating a happy medium in which our hands are relaxed. They are also composed – neither rigid nor sloppy.
Maintaining your form is a considerate way. That ensures that your message is completely understood.
13. Teach Sign Language To Your Friend:
You can also teach sign language to a friend or relative who has some interest. You could even teach the skills you’ve learned so far to help cement the concepts in your memory.
Learning sign language can also help you understand the diverse Deaf culture. Similarly, it allows students to explore the rich Deaf culture’s art, music, and poetry.
Furthermore, it also opens up many opportunities for friendships with the Deaf. Do you enjoy making friends across cultural barriers? Sign Language classes are an excellent choice.
Moreover, speaking sign language can be more enjoyable than many other recreational activities. You can also use sign language to avoid disturbing wildlife while walking in nature.
The conversation is essential for learning any language. Many learners make the mistake of waiting too long to communicate. There is a range in time. It surely will take time to learn sign language.
Depending on a student’s aptitude, they could learn a new sign in a few hours. It could also be a week before the student feels comfortable enough to move on to another sign.
I will not say you can learn sign language in less time. It requires time as other languages take, but you can learn it consistently.
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