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Why British Sign Language is important for Bristol’s community

Imagine if nobody spoke your preferred language.

Many of us take for granted the privilege of being able to speak and be understood by others around us.

But for some people commination can be a huge barrier. This includes those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Around 70,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language as their preferred language, according to the Deaf Health Charity.

Learning British Sign Language will mean you can communicate with deaf people and others who rely on the language.

What is British Sign Language?

British Sign Language (often referred to as BSL for short) comprises a range of movements, hand signals and expressions. It is used to communicate without voices.

Like other languages, learning British Sign Language includes everyday language to communicate about a range of topics. Studying British Sign Language also includes grammar, syntax and structure.

Why learn British Sign Language?

Communication is important.

British Sign Language is used as a preferred language by many people who may be deaf or hard of hearing. It is studied by many people. This often includes their loved-ones, colleagues, friends, teachers and professionals as well as those who wish to improve inclusivity in their community.

British Sign Language will give you the ability to communicate with other British Sign Language (BSL) users. Plus, it could be a great first step in pursuing a career in British Sign Language.

What you can do with British Sign Language

Studying British Sign Language is an invaluable skill that will help you communicate with people in your community.

It is a language that boosts inclusivity and deaf-awareness.

You can also use the skills you learn to start a career as a British Sign Language interpreter.

Learn the basics online

You’ll find a wide-range of amazing resources online that can give you insight into British Sign Language basics.

The videos embedded on this page were produced by our British Sign Language experts. They were made to help staff around the college improve their British Sign Language skills.

By looking at some of these beginner’s videos you can learn some British Sign Language and get a taste of the language.

Join a beginners’ course

At Ashley Down Centre and College Green Centre we offer part-time British Sign Language courses.

Our British Sign Language entry course is three-hour-a-week. It’s suitable for people with no sign language experience.

Joining a class is a great way to give yourself an interactive course experience. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in group and pair work.

Advance your skills

If you already have completed a Level 1 course, why not join an advanced British Sign Language course?

Lessons at our centres will give you the skills to communicate with people who use British Sign Language to communicate. You will learn how to use British Sign Language in a range of familiar and work-related situations, participating in longer and more open-ended exchanges than the Level 1 beginner British Sign Language course.

What next?

We’re encouraging people in Bristol to consider if learning British Sign Language could be right for them.

We have British Sign Language courses starting soon that you can join; you can apply or enquire on the course web page.

We’d love it if you could share this page with others in the Bristol community and beyond.

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