A question that we are often asked is ‘how do I practice my fingerspelling in British Sign Language (BSL)’ – so read on to our 8 ways to practice.

First lets talk a little bit about fingerspelling, what is it use and function within BSL.

Fingerspelling is a grammatical function within BSL that is used for spelling out names if people and places.  It can also be used when the signer does not know the sign for that particular word.  There are also many signs within BSL that use a letter of the fingerspelling alphabet to start off the word such as ‘gold’ and ‘silver’.

FACT: Some of the older generation of Deaf people use more fingerspelling than signs!

Just to clarify, in BSL there is a sign for almost every word, and it is more efficient that fingerspelling every word.

Right….on to terptree’s top tips!

1. Meet with other BSL students and test one another

2. Teach your family how to fingerspell and get them to test you!

3. Go around your home or workplace and fingerspell the names of objects that you see

4. Go to a Deaf club or Deaf events to practice your BSL, this offers the opportunity to also practice your fingerspelling!

5. Youtube is a wonderful resource for free access to practice materials.  Type in  BSL Fingerspelling and you will be amazed at what you find

6. Register for the BSL Homework site with Signature where you have free access to the 101 module of Level 1

7. Contact terptree  and we can book you onto one of our BSL Refresher courses for Level 1 or Level 2 or even a 1:1 session with one of our fantastic tutors and can get your fingerspelling skills improved in just a few hours!

8.  A tip added by Interpreter Helen Hamston, RSLI “I always found the best way to practice was finger spelling a whole story from the newspaper on the train on the way to and from work and also lying in the bath and finger spelling everything on the back of the shampoo bottles (especially all the ingredients)”  Thanks Helen 🙂

We hope that this blog post has been helpful and any questions you have contact us at training@terptree.co.uk