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Hi,

I'm new to all of this and I love that this forum helps me see that I am not the only one who is just starting...I have several reasons for wanting to learn...

When I was 16 I learnt the BSL alphabet during a performing arts assignment tour guiding children around a reading village (dressed as a jester) - fun fact!

I shocked myself when a few weeks ago I saw something about the alphabet and just casually did it...and got them all right - not sure how when it's been 25 years and that was literally a 2 day event!

Anyway last year I saw a few posts about signing form people and was inspired, but my sister posted on social media about my 6 year old niece who is hard of hearing (She's actually a very good lip reader so I never even noticed) and how she's learning sign language because she finds it useful as an extra communication tool, so the whole family (My sister and all of her 6 children) are learning with her....I loved that!

I decided to learn a few things to say hello to her but then I thought that instead of just a novelty 'Hello' to impress her I would like to actually learn a real conversation.

I was shocked to learn that BSL wasn't actually a recognised UK language until 2003 when there are 151,000 people who use it as a primary language in the UK...that's not the only people either as lots use it as an additional language.

A little aside:  a few years ago I went to Norway to do a job...when I was there I didn't have a word of the language and almost everyone who could put themselves out and spoke English for me, the times they couldn't I felt so out of the loop and alienated.  My entire mindset with languages changed in an instant...I always thought that if someone lives in my country or is around me then it's their job to speak what I speak...I saw how selfish and alienating that was and determined to always do what I could to help anyone who couldn't communicate with the people around them (which I do know probably isn't a lot as I don't actually speak any other languages).  But I realise that attitude I had then is more common than we like to admit...because I wasn't being actively mean just ignorant and uneducated, but the experience changed my view point.

Sorry - I am not trying to be controversial on here!  When we found out my niece had hearing difficulties (Formal diagnosis is pending of whether she has hearing loss, partial hearing etc or which ears work to what degree) I thought of myself in that country trying hard to fit into the language and every time that little girl was told that she sounded wrong or every time she had her back turned and people expected her to know what was going on that must have been how she felt.

So I want to learn BSL for that reason - because I don't want to keep expecting everyone to be in my world all the time and if there's a chance I can communicate with new people in a. new way then that's great.

I also think that it's just something good to learn - I used to do family contact work and saw several deaf people and interpreters so professionally I might meet people who I may not be a great help to but if I meet a child or family through work and being able to say a few sentences will be good I think

Over the years I have tried to learn languages but I learn best by doing things and work best with my hands so being able to learn entirely by doing it is the best for me.

Sorry for a super long post...I have so many reasons for wanting to learn and am loving it.

🙂

Happy Weekend!!!

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