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Learning Sign Language

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Are you looking for something different to do this summer? Do you want to learn something that is both fun and useful? Learning sign language may be for you!

Learning sign language can be useful in a variety of ways. It helps you to communicate with those who have hearing disabilities. Parents are starting to use it to “speak” with their young infants before they can talk. Learning sign language can also help you to pay attention to nonverbal cues when speaking with someone, allowing you to better communicate.

Sign language is a form of communication. Used primarily by the deaf and those with hearing problems, you “talk” without actually saying a word. Communication is achieved by movements of the hands and arms. Since it is nonverbal, a lot of emphasis is also placed on facial expressions and body language. Learning sign language can be a fun task for students of all ages.

American Sign Language is the most widely used set of signs. Besides the basic alphabet, it also incorporates signs for different words. Can you imagine how long it would take to get your point across if you had to spell everything out? Obviously, that would be inefficient. So other signs or combinations of signs have been created to relay information. There are over 1200 words currently in the American Sign Language dictionary.

Learning sign language is easy to do. There are numerous places online where you can find demonstrations of different signs. Or you can purchase a book or video with a description. If you are serious about learning to sign, some schools are now offering sign language as an alternative to the traditional foreign languages like French and Spanish.

Once you have learned some sign language, it is time to put that learning to good use. You can work with your infant or child to develop a “secret” language. You can volunteer at a center for the deaf or a nursing home. You could even look for a new job – some employers look specifically for candidates who can sign. Have fun!

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