It’s never too late to learn a language. And what better day to take up a new tongue than the International Day of Sign Languages?
The holiday celebrates the 300-plus different sign languages used by more than 70 million deaf people across the world.
There are hundreds of thousands of phrases in all of the international sign languages. But learning how to communicate through sign language is an important step in making the world a friendlier place for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Here are a few simple phrases in American Sign Language (ASL) to get you started, courtesy of Bill Vicars, a deaf studies professor and director of ASL University, an online resource for ASL learners, and ASLMeredith, a YouTube ASL tutor.
What’s your name?
It’s nice to meet you.
How are you?
What do you like to do?
I’m happy to help you.
If you’re itching to keep signing, free resources like ASL University and online instructors like ASLMeredith offer lessons for every level of ASL expertise. The National Association for the Deaf also compiles lists of local ASL teachers if you’d prefer to continue learning in person.
Oh, and when you’re fluent, you can consume news in ASL, too, with Sign1 News, a CNN affiliate that broadcasts the news in sign language.