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The sign language spoken in Britain.

BSL differs from American Sign Language in several ways. The fingerspelling of the alphabet is utilised with two hands instead of one, for example.

BSL is the fourth most commonly used language in Britain after English, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic, yet is not recognised as an official language.

Used by about 70,000 people in the United Kingdom, BSL is a language in its own right and not a translation of English. It is almost always unintelligible to users of American Sign Language, though both include many logical signs that make it obvious what the speaker intends to say. Like ASL, British Sign Language has its own grammar, and while there are regional differences the deaf community is cohesive enough that signs are commonly understood.

Sign language has been used in Britain since before 1644, but schools for the deaf were not established until the late 18th century. In 1982 the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People was established to encourage the use of BSL, and today there is an increasing interest in teaching deaf children in the language. Recently the language has been the subject of extensive research to better understand its underlying rules and structure. The UK requires signed interpretation in court, and a number of regional and national organizations exist for the deaf.

Resources:
http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=BHO
http://www.royaldeaf.org.uk/royaldeaf/sl.htm

Fun fact:

A deaf American decides to backpack around Europe. he meets many deaf people there. He tries to communicate with them. Where does he have the most trouble?

The United Kingdom. American Sign Language Was based on French Sign Language with a little Martha's Vineyard Native American sign language thrown in for spice. French sign language was also, with modifications, spread around most of Europe, even as far as Russia. The British, however, had to be different, and developed their own sign language, British Sign language. It has almost no relation to ASL - Even finger spelling is different.

originally written in american sign language - moved because WU has more to do with BSL than ASL.

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