Why the hell not?! British Sign Language (BSL) might be a lot easier to learn than you think (Picture: CityLit)You might have considered learning French or Spanish as a second language, but what about British Sign Language (BSL)?
There are 11 million people with hearing loss in the UK, yet new research has revealed that a staggering 94% of Brits admit that they do not know more than two words of British Sign Language (BSL).
The research, conducted by adult-education college City Lit reveals that over a quarter of us (27%) feel embarrassed that we cannot communicate with people with hearing loss, with 59% calling for sign language to be made part of the National Curriculum.
It’s time to get a-learning.
Who wouldn’t want to learn some basic BSL? (Picture: CityLit)It is especially pertinent when you consider there are an estimated 24,000 people across the UK who use BSL as their primary language, and 61% of us feel that those who are deaf or suffering with hearing loss are marginalised from society because not enough people know how to communicate with them.
Research by the NHS has shown that almost three quarters of deaf people (74%) felt that their employment opportunities were limited because of their hearing loss, and over two thirds (68%) have felt isolated at work.
But, apparently, while 50% of people admit they don’t know any sign language at all, 60% would like to learn to communicate better with people with hearing loss.
What time is it? Learning time! (Picture: CityLit)British Sign Language interpreter Rachael Davies, who has grown up around deaf family members, says: ‘I have witnessed the communication barriers deaf people have to face every day. In some instances, family members have had to write on a piece of paper to be able to communicate. But English isn’t a deaf person’s first language – sign language is.’
To test the nation’s sign language knowledge, City Lit has created an online quiz designed to test how much sign language we actually know.
It’s time to put those hands to good use.
Take the full quiz here. For those who would like to learn more, check out the courses at City Lit.