8 ways to practice my fingerspelling in BSL

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, let’s talk a little bit about fingerspelling, what are its use and its function within BSL.

Fingerspelling is a grammatical function within BSL used to spell out the names of people and places.  It can also be used when the signer does not know the sign for that particular word.  Many signs within BSL 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, which is more efficient than 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 event to practice your BSL; this offers the opportunity also to 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 modules 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 you can get your fingerspelling skills improved in just a few hours!

8.  A tip added by Interpreter Helen Hampton, 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