British Sign Language (BSL): Guide

Dani Sive (Headteacher Frank Barnes School) and Catherine Drew (Key Stage 1/2 Team Leader Frank Barnes School) | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

BSL as a language

British Sign Language is a bona-fide natural language.  It was recognised by the UK government as an official minority language on 18th March 2003.  BSL is used as a preferred language by around 145,000 people who are deaf (2011).  BSL has its own vocabulary, grammatical structure and syntax that is independent of English, although the fingerspelling of words and some of the mouth-patterns used in BSL follow the mouth-patterns used in English, as well as some signs which are based on English words.  BSL uses handshapes, hand movements, gestures, body language and facial expression to communicate in the same way that English uses speech and vocalisations to communicate.