It's Sign Language Week 2023! A celebration run on an annual basis by the British Deaf Association (BDA) to commemorate the first time British Sign Language (BSL) was acknowledged as a language in its own right by the UK Parliament on 18 March 2003.
This year we all will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of that historic moment, along with the recognition in law of BSL as an indigenous language of Great Britain in the BSL Act (2022) on the 28 April 2022.
This year’s Sign Language Week runs from 13 – 19 March 2023. The theme of this year’s campaign will be “Protecting BSL”. It is the BDA’s mission to protect, preserve, promote, and encourage more people across the UK to learn about this beautiful, unique, and visual language.
Here at Deaf Umbrella we will be happy to take part of Sign Language Week as each year, and we will be helping raise awareness about BSL and Deaf culture.
Let's have a look what's out there during this week:
SCHOOLS #LearnToSign - 15th March
This year the BDA are working with Signature to deliver the UK’s largest free British Sign Language lesson online, with primary schools across the UK all learning BSL at the same time on Wednesday 15th March. The lesson will give children the opportunity to learn BSL from a native Deaf teacher, BSL See Hear presenter Yvonne Cobb, and find out more about the British Deaf community.
If you are a primary school and would like to sign up to take part in the lesson, please complete an application form to receive more information.
BSL CONFERENCE 2023 - 17th March
On Friday 17 March, the British Deaf Association will host their first-ever national BSL Conference in London.
If you want to find out more about the BSL Act and what it will mean for the Deaf community and the professionals and organisations who work with BDA, then come along and join in!
FREE BSL CLASSES FOR PARENTS & CARERS OF DEAF CHILDREN CAMPAIGN
Because no parent should have to pay to learn to communicate with their child, please consider supporting Katie Littlejohns' petition.
Katie's baby boy, Alvie, is moderately deaf, and they have chosen to learn British Sign Language (BSL).
She's started a petition asking the Government to fund free and easy BSL courses for parents of deaf children - Along with so many others, adults who have late hearing loss also need free access to BSL.
BSL FINGERSPELLING CARD
BDA made a BSL fingerspelling card to help get you communicating in BSL right away! Click the image below to download a copy.
Did you know that fingerspelling positively correlates with stronger reading skills? Deaf and hard of hearing children who are good fingerspellers are good readers, and vice versa!
The fingerspelling alphabet is used in sign language to spell out names of people and places for which there is not a sign. Fingerspelling can also be used to spell words for signs that the signer does not know the sign for, or to clarify a sign that is not known by the person reading the signer.
British Sign Language (BSL) uses a two-handed alphabet however some other sign languages, such as American Sign Language (ASL), or Spanish (LSE), use a one-handed alphabet.
EXPAND AND GO DEEPER INTO BSL
If you want to learn useful and basic BSL vocabulary, such as how to introduce yourself, open questions, days of the week, or the emotions, below you will find some videos to expand your signing knowledge and help the inclusion for Deaf community.