Sign language is quickly becoming very popular in the United States. In fact, it is the Top 5 when it comes to language classes. More and more people are learning it every year, as both a second and a native language. Why is this? People want to be able to communicate with other people in their own language. It is frustrating being the parent of a deaf child and not knowing sign language, for example. It is also hard when you meet someone, in a class, at work, in a bar, and you can’t properly understand them because you don’t know how to sign. People are beginning to see that learning sign language opens them up to meeting more people and being able to communicate with them. But what if you can’t take a class in-person or you don’t have someone available to teach you? All you need to do is understand how to learn sign language online.
Benefits of Learning Sign Language
The most obvious benefit of learning sign language is that you will be able to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing people who use sign language. American Sign Language (ASL) is extremely common in the USA; it’s actually the 4th most commonly used language. That isn’t the only benefit of learning sign language, though.
One benefit applies to learning a new language in general. Being bilingual is great for your brain. Your creative thinking, problem-solving, listening skills, and academic performance can all get boosts when you know more than one language. Those who are bilingual tend to do better in school and have greater cognitive skills than those who are monolingual.
Your brain doesn’t just get a boost, either. Because you have to use your hands for ASL to form a variety of different shapes, often quickly and while using both hands at the same time, your dexterity and fine-motor skills get a boost as well. This can help in other areas of your life and enable you to learn new skills that require tight motor control.
Sign language can be helpful with your career too. Educators who speak sign language will be better prepared to communicate with students who use sign language. This is also a benefit for any students in your class. It can be difficult to find translators to attend classes at times and some schools may not even be able to afford them. Removing that barrier by knowing sign language is great for both you and your students.
Speaking of translating, that is also a good career choice if you like languages and working with the public. Translators get to sit in on classes, go to concerts, attend conferences, etc. in order to translate for those who need it. As a translator, you won’t just help to translate but you’ll also be able to expand your mind and learn new ideas by virtue of having to listen to them in order to translate.
How to Find Online Classes
If you aren’t able to attend an in-person class and watching videos here and there isn’t helping you to learn sign language as much as you like, an online class is a great way to learn sign language. Many classes have flexible schedules so you can start at any time and go at your own pace.
You also have the added benefit of having no commute, as you can do the class from anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about being able to fit a class into your schedule when you can study any time.
How do you find an online class, though? You can try a website like Udemy. This website offers courses in a wide variety of topics, not just sign language. Their goal is to offer online classes in order to fill the gap between the skills you need to succeed and the skills you already have. They understand that not everyone has the same opportunities.
Depending on many factors, such as where you grew up or financial status, not everyone learns the same things in school and may even miss out on learning some vital and necessary skills. Udemy wants to fix that. They offer accessible, affordable courses that anyone can take from anywhere.
You can use Udemy to hone a skill that you already have or to learn an entirely new one. You don’t have to worry about not being able to find the class that you want, either, as they have over 80,000 courses in 50+ different languages.
The great thing about Udemy is that it doesn’t just have one ASL course or teach to just one type of student. People who want to learn ASL have different reasons for doing so and may need to learn different kinds of vocabulary. That is why there are many different courses, catered to different people.
If you are a complete beginner and just want to start learning basic sign language, American Sign Language Level 1 is a good course for you. You will start by learning the very base of the language, same as you would in any other language course.
The course goes over the alphabet and fingerspelling, numbers signs (which are different than just counting on your fingers!), colors, food, different vocabulary for talking about your family, signs for expressing feelings and emotions, and more. You won’t just learn vocabulary, either.
You will learn the basics of grammar and learn how to start constructing sentences with all the new words you’re learning. Aside from the actual language, you will also learn the history of ASL and its origins. By the end of the class, you will have enough knowledge of the language to sign a short story.
If you want a more in-depth understanding of ASL, Learn & Master Sign Language is the course for you. This class is much more extensive than any of the introductory courses, having 47 hours of video compared to the 1-3 the basic classes have. This course also comes with a downloadable textbook you can use to assist you in your studies.
You will still start with the basics so you don’t need to take a different introductory class prior to taking this one. You’ll move far beyond where the basics classes stop as well. You won’t just learn the language either; each of the course chapters features a module on Deaf culture so you can learn about the culture and history of ASL as well.
Examples of lessons in this course include pronouns, adjectives, vocabulary for emergencies, directions, sports, hobbies and activities, school and workplace vocabulary, and travel. This course is set up to give you everything you need to have a firm understanding of ASL and you’ll leave this course with advanced knowledge of the language.
Do you have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing that needs to learn sign language but you don’t know any yourself? Maybe your baby can’t talk yet but you want to have some way of understanding them when they try to communicate with you. Learn Baby Sign Language is a course designed to teach you how to interact with your child using sign language.
The video lessons are fun and simple so you can even watch them with your child and help them to learn along with you. You will learn how to teach your baby basic signs so that they can tell you what they need, even if that can’t speak yet. This is great when your child is crying or upset and can’t tell you why; they can use a sign to help you figure out what they need.
This course is also great for your children as they will benefit from learning another language and it is a good way to bond together as parent and child.
Parents aren’t the only ones who should take this course, either. Anyone who works with children, such as teachers, nannies, or speech pathologists can take this course to help them better manage their classrooms by using signs to get children’s attention or to communicate with very young children. By the end of the course, you’ll know enough ASL to communicate at a basic level and you’ll also have the great experience of learning in a fun way.
Start Learning Now!
You don’t have to wait for a course to open up at a university or language school in order to start learning sign language today. Learning sign language online offers you the freedom and flexibility to learn on your own time, at your own pace. Learning another language has many benefits and you don’t have to miss out on those benefits just because you aren’t able to afford an in-person course or you can’t find the time for it in your already busy schedule.
By learning sign language, you open yourself up to new job opportunities, gain new cultural understanding, and increase your fine-motor skills. Overall, learning sign language is about being able to communicate with a wider range of people. Start learning today and you’ll see just how many benefits there are for yourself.
Hello – I think your article about the benefits of learning sign language is a great idea that could benefit many people. It is very important to be diverse and be able to communicate with anyone.
I had never really thought about learning sign language before, but am definitely more intrigued now. Thank you for providing this information.
Indeed, the present world is one of diversity, and sign language is an important and wonderful part of this diversity.
Hi! I have always wanted to learn the basics of sign language. And I greatly appreciate your recommendations.
I like how you have subdivided it into learning the basics with American Sign Language. And a more in depth approach with Learn & Master Sign Language.
I enjoy learning languages. And have learnt quite a few already. Each one of us is different, but I would like to ask you: Devoting 4 hours a week, how long should it take me to have a decent basic conversation? Thank you in advance.
Hi Henry. If you have a passion for learning sign language, I think you need about one year to reach a conversational level.