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Getting to Know One Another

By: Joanne Walker BA (hons) - Updated: 24 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Getting To Know Another Conversation

Once you have learnt how to make basic introductions in sign language you will want to be able to converse more readily with people. This will mean you will need to learn all of those signs you need for getting to know one another. These signs are ideal for a beginner because a conversation where you are getting to know one another is as formulaic as any conversation can be, so you will be expecting the kinds of answer you will normally get.

As there are many different sign languages in the world, in this article we will concentrate on those signs in British Sign Language. Some of these signs may be the same or similar to other sign languages, but it is easier to concentrate on one, just as you would a spoken language.

Basics
Basic phrases for introducing yourself are covered in the greetings and introductions article. But if you want to get to know someone rather than just passing the time of day with them there are more basic words and phrases that you are going to need to learn.

Question words will always come in useful for such occasions - as what, where, who, why and how can always be pieced together with other words to make basic questions - the grammar may be incorrect but you will be understood and then can learn the grammar at a later date.

What - this sign is acted by wagging the index finger from side to side, like shaking a finger at someone.

When - is demonstrated by putting your fingers against your cheek and touching each of the fingers against it.

Who - is similar to what but the index finger moves in a circular motion.

Where - palms are held open facing upwards and moving in a circular motion.

Why - the index finger is touched against the opposite shoulder of the person speaking.

How - the hands are held with palms facing upwards and fingers interlocking.

Building on the Foundations
You will need more words to build on these foundations so you can ask things like 'What is your name?', 'Where do you live?', 'Who is your husband?', 'What to do you do for a job?'. All of these questions have set structures in sign language as they do in English but first you must learn the vocabulary you will need.

For living questions, the word for address is made by rubbing the middle finger against the shoulder. Age is said by fluttering your fingers in front of the face. Favourite is a good word for getting to know people and is said by holding your hands as fists and thumbs pointing towards your mouth before sweeping them down and turning the thumbs horizontal. The sign for hobby and interest is the same - clawed hands rubbing up and down the chest. The word for work is hands held open, with one hand making a chopping motion onto the other.

Of course, these words merely scratch the surface of what you will need to know to be able to have a fully fledged conversation with someone in sign language. But they at least give you a starting point, and when you begin to learn grammar you will know the words you need to string together to make sentences. In the meantime, the words allow you to have a basic level of communication with other sign language speakers.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I have been searching everywhere for the how to sign "Live" as in, "where do you live?" in makaton, I cant seem to find it anywhere, can anyone help, thank you in advance.
Sue - 24-Apr-18 @ 1:01 PM
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Latest Comments
  • Debb
    Re: Left Hand Signing
    I am right handed. When watching online various teaching do i mirror tbe to do it right handed?
    15 May 2018
  • Sue
    Re: Getting to Know One Another
    I have been searching everywhere for the how to sign "Live" as in, "where do you live?" in makaton, I cant seem to find it…
    24 April 2018
  • MisttY
    Re: Hands on Signing
    @Puckle - there must be lots of free online videos offering this. It would be a very easy and cost-effective way to learn. Good luck.
    10 April 2018
  • Puckle
    Re: Hands on Signing
    I have wanted to learn to communicate with deafblind people for a long while after seeing a documentary about it. It moved me so much that a lot…
    10 April 2018
  • Tony
    Re: Makaton
    @Jordi - you can find some sessions on You Tube.
    24 July 2017
  • Jordi
    Re: Makaton
    I'm soon to start a new job working with disabled children on a school transport service, I currently work on hospital transport for mental health dementia…
    22 July 2017
  • Kaz
    Re: Makaton
    Can you show me picture sign in makaton for ! Special Person ? Please?
    8 June 2017
  • Justin Lee Carr
    Re: Where to Learn Sign Language
    I have a TBI but would like to work my damaged brain AGAIN. What will BSL mean to me?
    5 June 2017
  • Tkote
    Re: Academic Advantages of Sign Language
    Well and realistic statements that is really securing to improve communication skills that interchangeably and equally…
    9 March 2017
  • Kore
    Re: Academic Advantages of Sign Language
    Student studying at Wabag Secondary School
    25 February 2017
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