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American Sign Language and British Sign Language: How Are They Different?

sign language examples

It is easy to assume that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) would be similar, but they are actually two completely different languages. 

Only about 30% of the signs are the same, even though they are based on the same spoken language. In today’s blog post,  Akorbi helps highlight the differences between the two.

Sign Language is Different Than its Spoken Language

Sign languages often do not follow the same rules or sentence structures as the spoken language they are based on. These languages are created among the region’s deaf communities and are considered entirely their own language. This is why ASL and BSL are very different, even though American and British spoken English are very similar.

Sign Language has Regional Dialects

Not only do different countries have different sign languages, but different regions of a country can also develop their own dialect, much like spoken language dialects. 

BSL is most closely related to Australian Sign Language and New Zealand Sign Language. It is considered a dialect of BANZSL (British, Australian, and New Zealand Sign Language).

ASL and BSL are Very Different

Those who are unfamiliar with sign language may not initially realize that someone who speaks ASL would understand very little of BSL. Even the alphabet is signed very differently. 

In ASL, letters are signed with one hand while BSL uses two, so even using fingerspelling to spell out words would be difficult.

It is important to understand these differences because it would be a mistake to assume that someone signing ASL and someone signing BSL could communicate clearly with one another. Learning the differences between the two languages can help strengthen communication and ensure important information is accessible to all. 

Related Post: Translation Services: Where Does Sign Language Fit?

Akorbi Can Help With Signing Services

If you need language services relating to sign language, Akorbi can help. We specialize in building compassionate human connections through language, technology, and workforce solutions. Our worldwide contact centers provide multilingual support, bilingual agents, competitive rates, and exceptional quality. If you need translation or interpretation services, contact Akorbi today or call (214)256-9222.

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