Human eyes are the sign language of the brain. If you watch them carefully, you can see the truth played out, raw  and unguarded. – Tarryn Fisher

Sign language is a non-verbal way of communicating, which uses sequences of hand gestures to convey messages from person to person. It is like learning a language such as English, Yoruba, Igbo, French, Chinese or any other language you are interested in learning.

The design of using apps to learn sign languages is logical because if we can use apps to learn other foreign languages online, why can't learning sign language be the same way?  Sign language is considered legitimate as a form of communication for language purposes.

First, let us commend you for knowing that learning sign language is equivalent to learning a second language.

Like any language, you can learn sign language or grow up in an environment where it is a form of communication. Many people believe that sign language is singular and universal, meaning that there is only one type of signing and, once learned, you can sign with anyone globally.

The fact remains that though two countries might speak the same language, their sign languages would be different.

If you learn Nigerian or American sign language from the Internet, you would have a hard time being understood in Britain using those signs. Though we use the British method of speaking and writing, someone who learns the British sign language in the United Kingdom will not be able to make himself understood in Nigeria unless the person knows the Nigerian sign language.

There are different types of sign language globally. Even here in Nigeria, there are different types of Nigerian sign language. The next question to ask is: which sign language would you learn?

This Superprof article will help you understand the apps you can use to learn Nigerian sign language (NSL) or American sign language (ASL). We included the American sign language because the Nigerian sign language adopts many signs in ASL for its educational curriculum in NSL.

 

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Major Resource For Learning Sign Language

The most effective resource for learning sign language is to take a sign language course or class. Learning how to sign by taking a class or course is one of the easiest and fastest ways to learn. By taking a lesson with a sign language teacher, you will know several ways sign language can be efficient while using it.

Unlike other languages, which use grammar and sounds to learn, sign languages use hand, body and facial movements to create grammar.

sign language classes near me
One of the best ways to learn how to sign in Nigeria is to take a class or course. Source: Pexels

A  sign language course or class will expose students to the various expressions that make sign language effective for proper communication.

Virtually every state in Nigeria has a sign language teacher or interpreter because the deaf community is everywhere. When you take your time to research, you will find a sign language teacher or class near you.

Of course, there are also classes to train as a sign language interpreter, should that be your career goal.

Learning sign languages isn’t just learning the various signs for very similar things, however learning another approach to consider things.

Besides taking sign language classes, the very best resource to help you learn how to sign is the deaf community. You can learn how to sign in Nigeria by joining a deaf community near you, depending on the type of Nigerian sign language you want to understand.

If you have registered for or are already taking a sign language course, you might search the Internet for Deaf Clubs near me, then get ready to make a new friend.

Find A Community On Facebook

With over 2 billion people using Facebook globally and over 24 million in Nigeria, one of the best ways of finding a community of people interested in sign language or a deaf community is to check on this social media platform.

Many smaller clubs around Nigeria that do not use a website, a meeting place or a particular schedule usually maintain a Facebook page for communication.

Finding An Organization

Do you know that there are non-governmental organizations for the deaf and sign languages in Nigeria?

We have NGOs like Friends of the Deaf Foundation, Collaboration of Deaf and Hearing Adults  (CODAH) Enterprise, and Speaking Fingers Network.

You can join these NGOs to further your interest in sign languages. These NGOs are passionate about the deaf community in Nigeria, and by volunteering to work with them, you will learn how to sign. 

Or how do you expect to volunteer to the deaf community without sign language?

If your city does not have a deaf or a sign language NGO, why not start one? It is a great way to invite people to join you on your quest to learn sign language and be of help to the deaf community.

universal sign language gestures
Thumbs down is a universal gesture sign of rejection or disapproval. Source: Pexels

Online Resources For Learning Sign Language

Language is certainly not a hereditary blessing, it is a social blessing. Learning sign language is turning into an individual from the club – the network of speakers of that language.

You have to identify the type of sign language from the over 200 sign languages globally before choosing an online resource for learning sign language. We have different sign languages, and the online resources you select must identify with the sign language you want to understand.

There is currently no popular app for learning Nigerian signing other than learning via a course or a class. However, you can learn with American sign language apps.

According to the Indigenous Nigerian Sign Language Documentation Project (INSLDP), they are working on a project to produce multimedia documentation, including a video app and book, of the lexical signs of the endangered Indigenous Nigerian Sign Language(s) (INSL).

The Bible Society of Nigeria has completed translations of different Chronological Bible stories, CBS in Nigerian Sign Language for the deaf. It can be downloaded in video format and is available on a memory stick. The BSNN  has completed 222 Chronological Bible Stories in the Nigerian Sign Language.

Since we have adopted some parts of ASL, To learn Nigerian sign language, you can search for American Sign Language resources rather than any Sign Language resources.

You will find several resources online to learn sign language in Nigeria. Since ASL is part of our sign language in Nigeria, you can use the following resources:

  • ASL University (Lifeprint): This website contains many vocabulary words organized in lessons, with written explanations of the meanings of signs, related signs, and variations.
  • Start ASL: This online resource offers a variety of courses for those interested in learning sign language. They give lessons for both beginners and advance learning. You can opt for their online lessons.
  • Sign Language 101: This online resource offers free classes about the basics of sign language learning. It has 10 video lessons that teach you the alphabet, numbers, colours, simple gestures, common phrases etc.  The videos will guide you step by step as you progress from basic to advanced.

Learning On Youtube

Youtube is one of the easiest free ways to learn a new skill or language. There are instructional videos on virtually everything you might want to understand on YouTube. The site has dozens of teachers who give free lessons on signing the alphabet, common phrases, numbers, and more.

sign language in Nigeria
You can use youtube to improve your skills in Nigerian sign language. Source: Pexels

To sign effectively, you will need expressive skills at your disposal, including facial expression and using your whole body to sign.

While using youtube to understand sign language, be careful not to choose videos by people who talk their way through the lesson – with their voice, not through signing.

Naturally, you can sign while seated, but some videos are limited in their instruction. For instance, they might impart vocabulary – how to sign for help or basic greeting words but don’t show how to connect those words into an expression.

If you're looking for video instruction to learn or supplement your coursework in your sign language class, you can use youtube video channels like:

  • The daily sign
  • Ashley Clark Fry
  • Amber Galloway Gallego
  • Sign language with Tife.
  • S-DELI-IH

Apps For Learning Sign Language

You can use the ASL app to learn sign language. The app is about teaching you conversational ASL, with over 2,500 signs and phrases, easy navigation, and features with different signers. The ASL App will make learning easy, accessible, and fun.

The app was made by bilingual (English and ASL) Deaf people to teach conversational ASL. It is available on google play and IOS.

You can also learn with ASL Dictionary. The app contains a comprehensive American Sign Language video dictionary. ASL dictionary also contains over 5200 signed words. ASL Dictionary can enable people with hearing problems to translate English into ASL.

In a 2019 study, researchers found that teaching children mathematical concepts using sign language through an app was more effective than traditional flashcards and boards.

Asides from the above sign language app, there are more apps out there. If you search for how to learn sign languages, you will see apps for different sign languages.

Remember that you can always get a sign language tutor on Superprof to teach you Nigerian sign language. Most of the tutors offer the first hour of their lessons free.

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Oyin

I am a creative freelancer and fashion designer who loves to travel, explore and meet new people.