Lesson 1 - Getting to Know You


In this section you will see information that explains some of the finer points of BSL grammar and some of the rules that govern the use of BSL.

You can jump between this information and the stories, or watch the stories first and then come back and read this information.

Having this knowledge of the rules will assist you in understanding how the language works, how to use it more fluently and how Deaf people communicate.

1) Affirmation

Affirmation (declaring something to be true) is a common feature of BSL.

When you make a statement and you want to affirm that this is a statement of fact, give a single slow nod of the head as you are saying it, e.g.:

• “I am a WOMAN” (Story 1, Phrase 1)
• “I am SEPARATED” (Story 5, Phrase 7)

2) Fingerspelling Names

When you fingerspell names, note that the mouth pattern of the English name follows the same speed as the fingerspelling, e.g.:

• “I have a girlfriend, AMY” (Story 3, Phrase 7)

When there are two separate names fingerspelled one after the other, the head nods forward slightly to indicate the end of the first and the beginning of the second, e.g.:

• “My name is TIM BASS” (Story 5, Phrase 1)