If you’re thinking of learning sign language, but are put off by the time it takes to learn it, keep reading. Learning basic ASL (American Sign Language) can take just 60-90 hours. To put this into perspective, learning a new language can take up to six months.
ASL is one of the world’s most spoken sign languages, so learning it has a lot of benefits. We’ll cover how long it takes to learn sign language in this article, as well as some ways you can get started.
How Long Does Learning Sign Language Take?
The time it takes to learn sign language depends on how quickly you learn new concepts. It also depends on the amount of time you put into learning a new subject. Putting in more time and effort generally means you’ll pick up sign language quicker.
However, everyone learns at a different pace, so some people will have to spend more time learning than others.
It can take anywhere from three months to three years to learn sign language, but it can take years of consistent practice and study to become fluent. If you’re finding it difficult, try not to get frustrated. Stick with it, and learning sign language should gradually become easier.
Is Learning Sign Language Difficult?
Sign language involves learning an entirely new way of communicating. ASL is visual. People communicate by moving their hands and body. Learning a new vocabulary may be difficult, though it depends on how the student is learning. Some may find learning from a teacher easier than from online videos, or vice versa.
Advanced classes have more challenges, like sentence structure and grammar. Students will need to put more time and energy into these classes. However, for people just starting, beginner classes should be easier. If the student is determined, then learning sign language will be as difficult as learning a new spoken language.
Benefits Of Learning ASL
Learning ASL has many benefits. The most important benefit is that you’ll be able to converse with a greater variety of people. Students will gain access to a new world of art and poetry. Learning sign language gives you the opportunity to make new friends and engage with the Deaf community.
If you’re looking to advance in your career, learning ASL can be an asset. The Americans with Disabilities Act means that U.S. businesses have to provide ASL interpreters to colleagues, job candidates, and consumers when needed.
Even if you don’t want to be an interpreter, learning ASL will make you stand out at your job, or at your next job interview.
Learning a new language also has physical and mental benefits. Taking on a new challenge uses your brain. As a result, you’ll get better at memorization and solving problems. In younger children, using sign language can help them learn muscle memory and develop essential motor skills. These are all important for childhood development.
Can You Learn ASL By Yourself?
We’ve covered that it can take 60-90 hours to learn ASL, but this is just an average estimation. There are 26 hand signs to know when speaking ASL. The amount of time needed to learn all of these varies from person to person.
To speak in a conversation, you also need to learn facial expressions and 19 other hand shapes. This can only be done by speaking with deaf individuals. As you need to converse with another person, it isn’t typically possible to teach yourself ASL.
Proper conversations need a lot of practice and professional guidance. Despite this, beginners can teach themselves the ASL alphabet to get started.
Best Ways To Learn Sign Language
If you’re just beginning to learn sign language, you can try learning from apps or online videos. Nevertheless, you may find it easier to learn from a sign language teacher, as they can give you personalized feedback and work at your level.
Learning from an at-home video means that you won’t know if you’re making any mistakes. A teacher can correct mistakes as you do them, saving a lot of time in the process.
Everyone learns in different ways. Some people learn visually, while others learn by doing activities. A sign language teacher can adapt the classes to your learning style. This will help you learn the basics quicker, helping you progress faster as a result.
However, if you can’t afford a teacher or classes, don’t be disheartened. Many qualified professionals make videos that can help you get a head start. No matter what method you choose, the best thing to do is just start learning.
Where Can I Find Sign Language Classes?
There are many ways to learn American sign language. A popular option is community college courses. Many people choose this route, but this can be expensive. Look out for local language clubs.
These have an advantage, as you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people as you try to reach your ASL goals. Some charities and organizations offer less expensive classes, though you’ll have to do your research to find these.
Another popular option is taking online sign language classes. These have grown in popularity as they’re accessible to everyone. Most of these are carried out through group learning, which allows you to converse with other people. You can also find private tutors online, though these are more expensive than group classes.
If you’re up for a challenge and are a little more experienced, you can try reaching out to your local Deaf community. Conversing with fluent sign language speakers is a great way to see your skills progress.
How To Practice Sign Language
Like any new language, practicing sign language can make you a better speaker. You’ll improve faster by conversing with others than learning by yourself. There are many ways to do this. You could plan a coffee date with someone who knows sign language, teach sign language to a friend or family member, or practice on video chat apps.
There are also ways to improve by yourself. Listen to music and practice signing the lyrics to your favorite songs. You can change the difficulty by slowing down or speeding up the music.
There are interactive games and quizzes that you can download to your smartphone. These will test your skills and can improve them when played consistently. It’s also recommended that you study a sign language dictionary regularly. This will help expand your vocabulary and make you an overall better communicator.