Breakthrough BSL
4.3 (115 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
588 students enrolled

Breakthrough BSL

Learn the basics of BSL & hold meaningful conversations with deaf people in everyday situations
4.3 (115 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
588 students enrolled
Created by Olly Richards
Last updated 12/2018
English
English [Auto]
Current price: $69.99 Original price: $99.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 13 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • By the end of the course you will have gained an introductory working knowledge of BSL, so you can hold a conversation with deaf people and BSL users in everyday situations
Requirements
  • None! This course can be taken by anyone. It is suitable for complete beginners talking their first steps in BSL, as well as those who have studied the language previously and want to improve their knowledge of the foundations of the language.
Description

With Over 145,000 Deaf People in the UK...How Can You Make a Difference?

  • Do you have a deaf friend or family member that you’d love to be able to use sign language with?

  • Have you yourself suffered hearing loss and are struggling to communicate with the outside world?

  • Do you work with deaf or hearing-impaired people and feel inadequate when you are unable to interact with them?

  • Do you want to become a more caring and inclusive member of society?

All too often, deaf and hearing-impaired people are overlooked, and struggle to communicate with a world that doesn’t speak their language.


Hi, I'm Olly Richards

I'm an author, speaker and language teacher. I'm also the founder of one of the most popular language learning blogs in the world: I Will Teach You A Language.

I’ve successfully learned 8 languages myself, so I have a good idea of the struggles you may be facing with sign language, and what’s holding you back.

After working with thousands of language learners, I’ve come to see first-hand what stops people becoming fluent in a new language, and what can be done to fix it. Learning sign language is no different.

Today, I’m going to offer you the opportunity to make a difference in your life and the lives of others by learning the basics of BSL (British Sign Language), so you can start to communicate on a more personal level with the deaf community and play a fuller part in society.


What's Stopping You Learning Sign Language?

If you're reading this page, it's likely that you do want to learn BSL, and it may have been a personal goal for you for some time now. But if you’re like most people I know, you probably have no idea where to start!

There are lots of reasons you might taken the first step towards learning BSL in the past…

  • Maybe you’re short on free time to start a new project?

  • Maybe you’re not sure what material to use or where to start?

  • Or perhaps you’ve just been putting it off for a while and simply need a push to get started?


On the other hand...

  • Maybe you’ve tried to learn BSL in the past, but didn’t get very farDo you already know a few signs but struggle to put sentences together?

  • Or maybe your learning is just a bit disorganised and you lack a plan

  • Do you already know a few signs but struggle to put sentences together?

  • Or maybe your learning is just a bit disorganised and you lack a plan?

BSL is the first or preferred language of over 50,000 deaf people in the United Kingdom, and approximately 1 in every 1,000 children is born with a severe or profound hearing loss (according Disability. co . uk). Not only that, but BSL has also been an official language of the UK since 2003. All this means that there’s no better time to master the basics of BSL than right now. 


Introducing... Breakthrough BSL

Breakthrough BSL is a brand new online programme I’ve created to teach you to communicate in BSL in just a few minutes a day, and start to bring about a positive change in your life.

This is a concise, hands-on, practical course, designed by experts, to teach you the key signs you’ll need to interact in common, everyday situations in BSL, and put a smile on someone’s face.

  • Learn The Fundamentals Of BSL: It’s important you master the basics of BSL from the very beginning, so you have rock-solid foundation and can start communicating with deaf people in your life right away. With this course, a solid foundation is exactly what you get.


  • Learn About Deaf Culture: As well as learning to use sign language, you’ll also learn about deaf culture and the role it plays in the language and the community. By the end of the course you’ll not only be able to use BSL to communicate, you’ll also have a better understanding of the deaf community and rich cultural identity that has been created in this country which you may not even be aware of.


  • A Course Designed By Learning Experts: This course is designed to help you learn in the most effective way possible, so that you get real results. The design of the programme draws on many years of language learning and teaching experience. 


  • Taught By A BSL Expert With Years Of Experience: Your instructor, Emma, is a BSL expert with years of experience as a teacher and interpreter of the language. The collective expertise that has gone into the creation of Breakthrough BSL means you can have confidence that you’ll be learning as quickly as possible, in a way that is proven to be effective.


  • Professional Quality Video Lessons: The entire course is shot in beautiful HD video, so not only will you enjoy a state-of-the-art learning experience, but you’ll have the best seat in the house and you’ll feel like you’re in the room with Emma, receiving personal tuition!


  • Flexible, Online Learning: With Breakthrough BSL you have full control of your study schedule so you can base your learning around your lifestyle, and learn at a time that suits you rather than working to the rigid schedule of a teacher or school. With this course, you also have the flexibility to learn at your own pace, making it much more enjoyable and easier to be successful.


  • Interactive Lectures: The interactive video lessons in this course follow an approach of “active learning”, and are specially designed to test your learning as you go. This means that rather than just teaching you new signs we actively check your comprehension and encourage you to practice new signs as you progress through the course. This means you’ll learn faster and remember more than you would with any other course.


  • Communicate with over 9 million hearing-impaired people in Britain: Breakthrough BSL gives you the skills you need to make a difference to the lives of millions of people all over Britain. By the time you complete the course, you’ll be ready to deal with any common, everyday situation in BSL.  In fact, what makes this course so unique is that when creating the syllabus, we didn’t just copy the same old “standard signs” you’ll learn elsewhere - we actually went out and surveyed hundreds of people across the UK about the specific situations they would like to use BSL in, whether that’s with a family member suffering from hearing loss, interacting with deaf people in everyday situations at work, or simply becoming more socially conscious. Breakthrough BSL is a course for real people, living real lives who want to make a difference in the real word.


  • Learn To Use BSL With Confidence: I understand that learning sign language can be intimidating if you’re a beginner, so given this is such a practical course, we place an emphasis on teaching you not only to understand the most important signs that you’re likely to need but to sign them yourself, with real people, and with confidence, so you can start to communicate with the people in deaf community, without freezing up. When you can do this…the results will be life-changing!

So, are you ready to make your Breakthrough in BSL?


Learn the Basics of BSL Step-by-Step in Your Free Time!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a complete beginner at BSL, or whether you’ve tried to learn any other variety of sign language before. This course will cover everything from the very beginning of BSL, so you have confidence in what you’re learning, and know that it will be effective at helping you to communicate with the deaf community.

We understand you’re busy, and that you may be worried about taking on an additional commitment, and that’s why this course is delivered in small, bite-sized lessons that you can complete at home, on the train, or during your coffee break.

The course also works on any device, so you don’t have to worry about technical difficulties. (But, just in case you do have a problem, our friendly support team are standing by to assist you with any questions.)


  • Course Structure: 5 course modules to teach you BSL step-by-step

  • Video Lessons: 31 unique lessons in glorious HD-quality video

  • Supporting material: Downloadable PDF worksheets accompany every lesson so you can revise anywhere 

  • Average video lesson length: 2 min 30 sec

  • Language: Spoken English with subtitles throughout

  • Level: No previous knowledge required - ideal for complete beginners, or those looking for a refresh

  • Technology: Works on any computer, tablet or mobile device

  • Lifetime membership: Unlimited access to the course for as long as you need it

  • Free updates: You receive complementary updates to all future versions of the course

  • Support: Our friendly support team love answering your questions (however small) over email

  • 30-day money-back guarantee: If the course is not right for you we will refund every penny.


Course Aims:

By the end of the course you will have gained an introductory working knowledge of BSL, so you can hold a conversation with deaf people and BSL users in everyday situations.

You will do this by...

  • Building a solid knowledge of the alphabet & numbers, so you can "finger spell" any word in the English language

  • Learning vocabulary to talk about a range of common topics (days of the week, verbs, family, etc.), so you can learn the words that are important to you in your unique situation

  • Learning common phrases for everyday interactions and greetings, so you can communicate with deaf people in a meaningful way

  • Practising all the above with regular revision, comprehension tests, and PDF notes to take away and study anywhere


Course Content:

  • Module 1 - The Alphabet & Fingerspelling

  • Module 2 - Your First Conversations

  • Module 3 - Core Vocabulary

  • Module 4 - Expanding Your Vocabulary

  • Module 5 - Questions, Emotions & Putting It All Together

Subtitles: 
All videos include close captioning so you'll be able to follow along with Emma's explanations, tips and instruction even if you're deaf or hard of hearing.


Course requirements:
None! This course can be taken by anyone. It is suitable for complete beginners talking their first steps in BSL, as well as those who have studied the language previously and want to improve their knowledge of the foundations of the language.

BSL FACT SHEET

Did you know...

  • BSL has been an officially recognised language in Britain since 2003

  • BSL is a visual language which is very different from English, with its own unique syntax and grammar

  • There are regional dialects of BSL, just like English (You'll get a glimpse of this in the course!)

  • Over 145,000 people in the UK live their lives through BSL


How Will Knowing British Sign Language Change Your Life?

So, take a second to remember why you want to learn British Sign Language, and what life will be like when you can sign with confidence.
Imagine what it will feel like when ...

You’re able to confidently express yourself in British Sign Language and connect with the deaf community

You can transform relationships with those around you - at home, at work and in your local community - by communicating in their language

You can play your role in creating a more open and inclusive society

How much of a difference will it make to your life and the lives of the deaf people you encounter when you can actually communicate with them, on their own terms, in their own language?


Here’s What Students Are Saying:

“Emma is very approachable and the practice conversations make it easy to see how everything fits together.”

- Adam Stephen Dawkins

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone with hearing impaired friends or family, those who work with the people in the deaf community & people with an interest in being part of a more welcoming and inclusive society.
Course content
Expand all 26 lectures 56:14
+ Getting Started With British Sign Language
5 lectures 03:55

Welcome to Breakthrough BSL and congratulations on taking the first steps towards making British Sign Language a part of your life!

If you're new here, please take a moment to watch the short introductory video. Olly and Emma will give you a quick introduction to the course and tell you what to expect as you progress through the material.

If at any time, you require support or assistance for any issues you encounter, you can contact our support team by emailing: support@iwillteachyoualanguage.com

Preview 01:41

What exactly is British Sign Language? You probably know that it's a visual language that's used by the deaf and hearing impaired community in Britain, but what else do you know about BSL?

Well, don't worry - Emma's here to help!

Watch the video to learn a little more about what exactly BSL is and how it works.

Preview 00:42

In this course, you're going to learn everything you need to start holding your first conversations in BSL.

The aims of the course are:

  1. To give you a basic understanding of British Sign Language (BSL)

  2. To teach you enough BSL to be able to hold a conversation with the deaf people and sign language users you meet

  3. To teach common everyday BSL vocabulary

  4. To help you build a solid foundation in the alphabet and numbers (which are central to all BSL)

By the end of the course, you'll be feeling confident in everyday BSL situations and ready to move on to more advanced topics!

Preview 00:27

This is a very practical course, designed to get you using and understanding British Sign Language from the beginning. As you progress through the course, you will be:

  • Working on your fingerspelling skills

  • Actively learning new vocabulary to expand your conversations

  • Improving your ability to understand when other people sign

You'll learn the fundamentals of BSL through fun and engaging lessons with Emma, a BSL teacher and interpreter with years of experience working with learners just like you.


How The Course Is Structured

Each module of the course consists of:

  • Video lessons covering the main topics of the module

  • PDFs with detailed descriptions of how to make each sign and full colour images to help you learn

  • Interaction with the videos that encourages you to play an active part in the role-play conversations

Completing the interactions and repeating the videos in each lesson will allow you to pick up the basics of BSL quickly.

We've designed the PDFs with full colour images and detailed descriptions, so you can download them and learn on the go.

It's a good idea to download these PDF's to your phone or ipad so that you can refer back to them if you're having a conversation in BSL and forget some of the signs you need.


If you're a complete newcomer to BSL, we strongly recommend following the course structure as it's laid out. We've designed the course so that you learn key elements like the alphabet and numbers first, because you'll need these later on when you learn more complicated signs.

However, not all the topics may be relevant to you so feel free to focus on the vocabulary you're most likely to use in your BSL conversations. As you go through the course, take note of the signs that are most important to you and pay extra attention to them.

And finally, remember, completing this course will give you all the tools you need to use basic BSL, but in order to really get the most out it, you need to go out and practice the signs you're learning.

If you have any friends who are learning BSL, practice with them! You can even arrange BSL coffee sessions - as Emma suggests - where you practice signing without speaking.

Alternatively, you practice with the deaf people you encounter at work or in your community. I'm sure they'll appreciate you making the effort to speak their langauge, and be happy to practice without.

Or, you could look for deaf clubs in your local area. These groups are always welcoming to new members and can be a great place to learn about deaf culture, as well as practice the new signs you're learning.

Got Questions?

You can ask any questions you have in the comments section at bottom of each lesson, where we'll be ready to help you out with any questions you may have!

If at any time, you require support or assistance for any issues you encounter, you can contact our support team by emailing: support@iwillteachyoualanguage.com

Best of luck!

Olly

Preview 00:36

One of the most common questions many BSL learners ask is "which hand should I use?". This is a great question and it's very important to be clear on it before we start learning new signs.

Most of us have a dominant or stronger hand that we use in everyday life for things like writing. It's the exact same in BSL - you'll have a dominant hand and this is the one you use the perform or dictate most of the signs you make.

  • If you're right-handed, your dominant hand in BSL will be you're right hand

  • If you're left-handed, your dominant hand in BSL will be you're left hand

In BSL, the dominant hand can also be thought of as your 'pen hand' and the non-dominant hand as your 'paper hand'. This is because the dominant hand will often 'write' or 'dictate' signs which are received by your non-dominant hand. This might sound a bit confusing right now, but don't worry - it will all become clear once you start learning your first signs.

Preview 00:29
+ Module 1 - The Alphabet & Fingerspelling
3 lectures 10:24

Welcome to the first lesson of Breakthrough BSL!

In this lesson, you're going to learn the alphabet in British Sign Language and how to fingerspell each letter.

Fingerspelling is a fundamental part of British Sign Language, so it's worth spending some extra time on this lesson memorising the signs and perfecting your technique. You'll use these letters both on their own and to form other complicated words and signs in BSL.

Remember, in order to get the most out of the materials in this course it's really important that you pause the videos and practice the signs that Emma is teaching you.

Don't worry if you make mistakes or find it difficult at first - that's perfectly normal! Just keep practicing and you'll soon get the hang of it!

We've included a PDF below this lesson which you can download and take on the go with you to practice the signs you're learning. It includes full colour pictures demonstrating each of the signs taught in the video, with useful explanations for how to make each one.

Ok, so are you ready to get started? Great - then let's dive in! Click the play button and start watching the first video.

Preview 02:57

In this lesson, you're going to learn how to sign numbers in BSL.

Just like the alphabet, numbers are a very important part of British Sign Language and you'll use them all the time, in many different situations.

Remember, in order to get the most out of the materials in this course it's really important that you pause the videos and practice the signs that Emma is teaching you. You can repeat the videos as many times as you like.

Don't worry if you make mistakes or find it difficult at first - that's perfectly normal! Just keep practicing and you'll soon get the hang of it!

We've included a PDF below this lesson which you can download and take on the go with you to practice the signs you're learning.

Click the play button to get started!

Preview 03:48

In this lesson, we're going to practice the fingerspelling you learned earlier on in the course.

Fingerspelling is a fundamental element of BSL and these signs are used both on their own and to form other more complex signs. For that reason, it's very important you learn them well before moving on to other material.

In this video, Emma will finger spell a number of words and you'll have to figure out what they are. Each word will be fingerspelled silently and repeated twice so you have two chances to work it out. Emma will them give you the answer and fingerspell the word once more.

To really test yourself, try to practice fingerspelling yourself along with the video!

Fingerspelling Quiz
03:39
+ Module 2 - Your First Conversations
2 lectures 05:03

In this lesson, we're going to learn one of the most important things you'll need to be able to do in BSL - How to introduce yourself!

You'll learn how to sign:

  • My name is...

  • What's your name....

  • How old are you?

  • I'm ... years old.

In the resources section, you'll also find a PDF with detailed explanations of how to make the signs and images demonstrating each one.

Introducing Yourself
02:32

Now that you've learned how to introduce yourself, we're going to put these signs into practice in our first basic conversation.

In this video Emma will do a role-play between two characters who've just met. This practice session is made up of two parts:

  1. Watch Emma's Demonstration: Emma will go through the conversation once, demonstrating each part.

  2. Your Turn To Practice: The second time around, Emma will pause between signs to allow you to practice by making the signs yourself.

Remember, if you need more time you can always pause the video. You're in control so practice at the speed that feels comfortable for you. With more practice you'll get faster.

Don't worry if you make mistakes or find it difficult at first - that's perfectly normal! Just keep practicing and you'll soon get the hang of it!

Conversation Practice
02:31
+ Module 3 - Core Vocabulary
5 lectures 13:01

Welcome to Module 3 of Breakthrough BSL!

In this module, we're going to learn the basic core vocabulary you'll need to hold simple conversations in BSL. We'll cover things like:

  • Colours

  • Animals

  • Household items

  • Verbs

In this first lesson, we'll be focusing on colours. Watch the video below and follow along with Emma to learn how to sign the different colours in BSL.

You can also download a PDF in the resources section which gives detailed explanations of how to make each sign.

Colours
02:13

In this lesson, we'll learn the BSL signs for some common animals. These are very useful to know because they allow you to talk about any pets you might have.

They're also great fun to use with children, since many of them are very visual, fun signs.

Watch the video and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with in the resources section.

Animals
01:18

In Lesson 3, you're going to learn how to sign a variety of common objects that can be found in the home, office or workplace.

This vocabulary is verb useful for referring to things that are located in the room where the conversation is taking place. For example, when offering someone tea or coffee, you may want to tell them that there's milk in the "fridge" or that they can sit down in the "chair".

Watch the video and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with in the resources section.

Around The House
02:36

In this lesson we're going to learn some of the most important words you'll need in BSL - Verbs.

No matter who you chat with or what topics you discuss, you're going to need verbs in order to communicate effectively in BSL. In this video you'll learn twenty-eight of the most common BSL verbs, including:

  • to have

  • to give

  • to want

  • to like

Watch the video below and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with below the video.

A Note About Adverbs

To create adverbs - such as run faster, jump higher, eat slowly, etc. - you will use your non-manual features (NMF) - i.e., your body language and facial expressions.

You may speed up or slow down the sign. This all gives the verb context, and further meaning. NMF’s are an important part of BSL.

Negative Verbs

You can make a verb negative, by simply changing your facial expressions to match the verb and shaking your head to clarify the negative.

Verbs
04:06

You've reached the final lesson of Module 3!

In this module, we've learned lots of important new vocabulary BSL and now, it's time to put it into practice.

In this video Emma will do a role-play between two characters using the vocabulary we've learned so far in the course. This practice session is made up of two parts:

  1. Watch Emma's Demonstration: Emma will go through the conversation once, demonstrating each part.

  2. Your Turn To Practice: The second time around, Emma will pause between signs to allow you to practice by making the signs yourself.

Remember, if you need more time you can always pause the video. You're in control so practice at the speed that feels comfortable for you. With practice you'll get faster.

Don't worry if you make mistakes or find it difficult at first - that's perfectly normal! Just keep practicing and you'll soon get the hang of it!

Conversation Practice
02:48
+ Module 4 - Expanding Your Vocabulary
7 lectures 13:57

Next, we're going to learn vocabulary for talking about your family. In this lesson you'll learn the signs for:

  • mother

  • father

  • brother

  • sister

  • husband/wife

  • and many more...!

By combining the new signs you learn in this video with the numbers and verbs we've already learned, you'll soon be able to talk about your family and tell people how many brothers and sisters you have, whether you're married and other interesting information.

Watch the video below and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with in the resources section.

Family Vocabulary
03:27

In this video lesson, you'll learn how to tell the time in British Sign Language.

In English, we tend to use the phrase "o'clock" when talking about time, but it's a little different in BSL. You're going to learn:

  • How to tell the time on the hour (2 o'clock, 3 o'clock, etc.)

  • How to sign

  • How to sign quarter-past, quarter-to, etc.

Watch the video below and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with in the resources section.

Telling The Time
01:43

In the previous lesson you learned how to tell the time in BSL. Now, we're going to learn more time vocabulary so you can talk about things like day, night and the time of day. You'll learn:

  • Today, yesterday, tomorrow

  • Next week/month/year

  • Last week/month/year

  • and much more!

Watch the video below and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with in the resources section.

Basic Time Related Vocabulary
02:08

Now, we're going to learn how to sign the days of the week in BSL. Learning the days of the week is very important for being able to make plans and arrange appointments.

Whether you work in an area such as healthcare where you'll need to arrange appointments with deaf patients or you just want to arrange to visit friends or family, you're sure to find these signs useful.

Note: Fingerspelling is a key part of signing the days of the week, so make sure you've practiced and are feeling confident with your fingerspelling before moving on to this lesson.

Watch the video below and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with in the resources section.

Days Of The Week
00:59

In the last lesson, we learnt the days of the week in BSL, and now we're going to move on to the months of the year.

These signs are very useful for making plans, talking about past experiences or discussing upcoming events.

Note: Fingerspelling is a key part of signing the days of the week, so make sure you've practiced and are feeling confident with your fingerspelling before moving on to this lesson.

Watch the video below and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with in the resources section.

Months Of The Year
01:31

Next, we're going to learn how to talk about money and prices in BSL. This is especially useful if you work in the services industry, so that you can communicate effectively with deaf customers.

Whether in a corner shop, hairdressers or your local café, a little BSL can go a long way!

Money & Prices
01:11

It's time for some more conversation practice!

In this module, we've learned lots of important new vocabulary BSL. You'll now be able to hold more complex conversations and handle topics like making plans and dealing with money and prices. So, let's put it all into practice!

In this video Emma will do a role-play between two characters using the vocabulary we've learned so far in the course. This practice session is made up of two parts:

  1. Watch Emma's Demonstration: Emma will go through the conversation once, demonstrating each part.

  2. Your Turn To Practice: The second time around, Emma will pause between signs to allow you to practice by making the signs yourself.

Remember, if you need more time you can always pause the video. You're in control so practice at the speed that feels comfortable for you. With practice you'll get faster.

Don't worry if you make mistakes or find it difficult at first - that's perfectly normal! Just keep practicing and you'll soon get the hang of it!

Conversation Practice
02:58
+ Questions, Emotions & Putting It All Together
2 lectures 07:27

One of the most important things you need to be able to do is ask questions and understand when other people ask you questions.

We've already learned some simple questions forms throughout the course, but in this video we'll focus on getting to grips with all of the most common question forms.

We'll also tackle basic emotions in BSL such as happy, sad, tired and ill.

These basic emotion signs will allow you to find out how others are feeling and build a closer bond with them.

Watch the video and follow along with Emma's demonstrations. You can also download a PDF of these signs to practice with below the video.

Questions & Basic Emotions
04:17

Before you finish the course, it's time for a little more conversation practice.

This last practice session will combine everything you've learned in the course so you can practice the kind of conversation you might find yourself having in BSL.

In this video Emma will do a role-play between two characters. As always, the practice session is made up of two parts:

  1. Watch Emma's Demonstration: Emma will go through the conversation once, demonstrating each part.

  2. Your Turn To Practice: The second time around, Emma will pause between signs to allow you to practice by making the signs yourself.

Remember, if you need more time you can always pause the video. You're in control so practice at the speed that feels comfortable for you. With practice you'll get faster.

Don't worry if you make mistakes or find it difficult at first - that's perfectly normal! Just keep practicing and you'll soon get the hang of it!

Conversation Practice
03:10
+ Final Words
2 lectures 02:27
Final Words From Emma
00:58
Your Next Steps In BSL
01:29