I have just signed up for a course in British Sign Language (Stage One) with a local provider. I’ve always wanted to learn BSL and be able to communicate in a way that relies wholly on observation, interaction and empathy rather than memorising table after table of obscure grammar.
Of course, BSL has its own system of grammar and spoken communication employs a range of non-verbal tools to express meaning: body language, context, tone etc. The same is true for written communication (excepting body language).
Yet in all these forms, nothing is abstractly defined; and that’s the poetry of inexact language. There’s room for people like me to play with words and fiddle with meaning. There is a lot here to interest a writer and communicator, especially as these forms of communication all start from different places and have different strengths.
I rely on correct form and a professional exactness in writing so a language that prizes connection and shared reference over accuracy is intriguing to say the least. I hope that it will push me to consider the neccessity of common ground in language in a new way and that this will benefit my writing.
A new perspective on the craft of writing is never bad.
The course starts in October so I’ll blog again on this subject mid to late October to tell you how I’m getting on. For now, enjoy: