British Sign Language (BSL)

a person using sign language

British Sign Language (BSL)

Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language.

What is sign language?

Sign language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. Sign language is used mainly by people who are deaf or have hearing impairments.

What is British Sign Language?

Within Britain the most common form of Sign Language is called British Sign Language (BSL). BSL has its own grammatical structure and syntax, as a language it is not dependant, nor is it strongly related to spoken English. BSL is the preferred language of around 145,000 people within the UK (2011). BSL has been recognised by the U government as an official minority language since 2003.

Learning British Sign Language

There are over 151,000 individuals in the UK that use BSL. By learning BSL, you'll be able to communicate with deaf people, contributing to a society where deaf people are included.

Learning BSL will help you to become deaf aware and celebrate the rich diversity within the deaf community.

You never know when you find yourself in a situation where you see a deaf person trying to explain something, and by learning BSL, you are better equipped to help out!

Below are some links to resources to support you with learning BSL. 

Deaf awareness - tools and techniques for communicating with people with hearing loss. (YouTube)

100 Basic Signs in British Sign Language (BSL) (

Learn British Sign Language at your convenience (Bright BSL)

Online British Sign Language Course - Learn BSL Today (

Spread the Sign: provides a dictionary of signs – if you input an English word it will convert this to the sign which can be seen on the phone: Sign language dictionary (SpreadTheSign)

We will soon be launching a BSL eLearning internally on myLearning! More information to follow.

Financial support

The Department for Work and Pensions has set up this dedicated YouTube channel for BSL content so that the content can be found more easily. Here you will find videos on a wide range of areas relating to finances.

DWP information and support - YouTube

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