Top 5 reasons to learn sign language

I was recently on a plane flying from Sydney to Hong Kong, placed in the very back row, sitting right on the tail. After putting my items into the overhead locker, stashing my book into the front pocket and jostling into a (semi) comfortable position, I finally noticed the complete silence that surrounded me. As I finally took the time to gaze up and truly notice, I began to see that the entire cabin was standing up, using simply their hands, facial expressions and gestures to communicate.

Hours into the flight, long after we had taxi-ed the runway, picked up speed and set off for the first time, the lady in front of me dropped her complimentary pillow on the floor in front of me. As she gestured for me to hand it back, groggy in my post-plane slumber, I noticed how terribly and truly useless I was in that situation. As more of her friends got up and started to sign at me, I was still utterly clueless and finally the inability to understand a simple and direct request embarrassed and subsequently inspired me to learn sign language. Reflecting on this and having a quick search on the web, I came across the top 5 best reasons to learn sign language by Andy Palmer.

  1. Make friends with new people

Loads of cool people sign and if you can’t sign, you can’t talk to them unless you’re prepared to pay for an interpreter or write everything down. There is an awesome section of society out there that you’ll never know about. Don’t let it happen.

  1. Tell better stories

A common misconception is that sign language is all about the hands. Well, the hands are very important but there’s more to it than that. Much more.

So much communication for hearing and talking people is conveyed by facial expressions and body language. In sign language, those factors are even more important. With all additional exercise that comes with hand, body and facial movements, you’ll burn more calories than just by talking alone. I know you wouldn’t necessarily know it from looking at me, but imagine how porky I’d be if I didn’t sign?

  1. Let your body do the workout and lose some extra calories

 A common misconception is that sign language is all about the hands. Well, the hands are very important but there’s more to it than that. Much more.

So much communication for hearing and talking people is conveyed by facial expressions and body language. In sign language, those factors are even more important. With all additional exercise that comes with hand, body and facial movements, you’ll burn more calories than just by talking alone. I know you wouldn’t necessarily know it from looking at me, but imagine how porky I’d be if I didn’t sign?

  1. Become a body language expert

Like most things in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it and that’s no different for sign language. As we now know, much of sign language is based on body language and sometimes very subtle facial expressions. After lots of time spent in joyus sign language conversations, you might find yourself being able to instinctively work out what other people are thinking or feeling – just by looking at them! You’ll get tuned into people’s non-verbal communication in way a you didn’t know possible. Know what people are thinking, you will. You amazing BSL Jedi master.

  1. Confidently hold private conversations in public areas

There are couple of caveats to this: The first is that your sneaky conversations are only going to be private if they can’t be seen by anyone else who knows sign language. The second is that, if the conversation is about anatomy, then anyone watching is going to have a good idea what (but not who) you’re talking about. Apart from that – you can say what you want, when you want. People will look on completely clueless and in complete amazement.

Andy Palmer: Ten reasons why you should learn sign language (BSL)

Sophie x

 

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great read! Sign language is definitely something that’s important moving to the future. Hopefully we will see it more in mainstream media!

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment! I hope so too, it’s definitely time to see a bit more diversification in the media!

      Like

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