https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

British Sign Language needs to be on Duolingo.

I've seen the ASL post on here and I didn't see a BSL one. So, I made a post for it. If ASL can be on here, why not BSL. I understand Duo needs a profit to make software to fit Sign Language learning, but once they are and can, I support the development of English = ASL/BSL courses on here.

Facts: British Sign Language is a sign language spoken in the United Kingdom, and is the first or preferred language of some deaf people in the UK; there are 125,000 deaf adults in the UK who use BSL plus an estimated 20,000 children. In 2011, 15,000 people, living in England and Wales, reported themselves using BSL as their main language. The language makes use of space and involves movement of the hands, body, face and head. Many thousands of people who are not deaf also use BSL, as hearing relatives of deaf people, sign language interpreters or as a result of other contact with the British Deaf community.

Any more support would be awesome. Thanks

(I also support the Cornish Course)

November 5, 2016

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OwenSutherland0

I can contribute to the course. I am fluent in both BSL and English. As I'm deaf and I live in Scotland.

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker
November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OwenSutherland0

But BSL doesn't have a written form

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

That's true. The lack of a written form is going to be a big problem for Duolingo to overcome.

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OwenSutherland0

And BSL is not on the list

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

At the bottom of the list is "Enter other".

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

@OwenSutherland0: that's an interesting question. I'm not sure how to answer it. Perhaps one option would be to record your answer and upload it to Youtube, and post a link in that box.

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OwenSutherland0

And I can do Answer B in English, yeah?

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

The way that Duolingo is going to have to do this is if it does it like Memrise, so pictures with its meaning and then how to create the sign.

December 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OwenSutherland0

Yes, and a camera required software where you sign to the computer to show your answer. That'll will be so fun!

December 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

Maybe not Required, but that could be awesome! Go get a job at Duolingo, start making this!

December 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

Maybe someday Duolingo can have BSL for ASL signers and ASL for BSL signers courses? :)

November 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

That would be cool.

November 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

Native signers of ASL haven't settled on which writing standard to use (see https://aslfont.github.io/Symbol-Font-For-ASL/ways-to-write.html for their options), but have native signers of BSL settled on one?

Duolingo's better at teaching the written form of a language than the spoken form. It would probably also be better at teaching the written form of a sign language than the signed form.

Teaching BSL with its written form instead of relying a lot on videos and cameras would be like the way Greek for English speakers teaches the Greek alphabet and written Greek instead of relying a lot on audio and microphones. :)

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elizabeth261736

Here's the guide to suggesting a new language: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15014194

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

I simply proposed it because I saw ASL had been as well.

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

...and British Sign Language isn't on there yet. @Ben - if you get in contact with Jrikhal or Lrtward, they'll add your request to that page.

It'll be a very long time until it's added to Duolingo, though - getting a computer to recognise and interpret sign language is a very big challenge.

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

Are Stokoe Notation, SignWriting, the Hamburg Notation System, si5s, SignScript, etc. (I'm listing the ones from https://aslfont.github.io/Symbol-Font-For-ASL/ways-to-write.html that aren't just for ASL) really that much more difficult for a computer to recognise and interpret than alphabets, abjads, etc. are?

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

No, you're right, those written systems would be as easy for a computer to deal with as any other written system, as far as I can see.

The problem is that those written systems have a much greater distance from the "spoken" form in sign languages. Duolingo can present me with a written English sentence and ask me to type the Italian equivalent. Giving me an English sentence and then asking me to type a notation of the sign language is much more problematic, and much less helpful if I'm trying to learn how to actually speak to BSL speakers.

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

Those written systems seem to show how to sign the signed forms of the words, the same way a written word in Italian shows how to speak the spoken form of the word. :)

Now hanzi and kanji, those have a greater distance from the spoken forms of Chinese and Japanese...

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hughcparker

They do, and that's precisely the reason that we don't yet have a Chinese or Japanese course. Those scripts also cause problems for Duolingo's systems.

I'm not sure there are keyboard input methods for the sign language systems, and they don't seem to be widely accepted in the deaf community.

...but maybe a course could be made that focused almost entirely on translation from BSL, rather than translation to it.

There's a forum post from the Duolingo staff called Ask us about Duolingo. Maybe you could summarise some of this discussion on that page, and ask if they might consider working on BSL / ASL courses.

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ARwesome159

This should totally be a course!

November 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllaPolmear

I'm fluent in BSL ( and like you I'm also keen on a Cornish Course!). I think both a BSL and an ASL course on here would be a fantastic move. BSL has a completely different grammar and syntax from English, and as far as I am aware, still doesn't have a written form - as a visual language the medium of video is used as the equivalent of writing. I'm not sure how Duolingo would handle the logistical challenge, but I am sure they would be up to it. BSL has enriched my life in countless ways, giving me an opportunity, like learning other languages, to see things from a different point of view, but I'm also convinced I'm a more visual thinker, since becoming proficient in the language. I'm strongly in support of this suggestion. Thank you for proposing it. If you haven't already upvoted the Cornish language option Ben, could you do so? Meur ras.

November 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

Dydh da Ella! Thanks for your support on the BSL course. I grew up with two hard of hearing parents, and while they didn't sign, I met alot of Deaf and HoH people who did. And you're right, there is no written form of BSL, I've researched this now (Should of done it earlier), although most Deaf people I've met who sign do have a good-to-excellent understanding of Standard Written English. Maybe some people, as they grow up, are taught the signing and written equal to it. If this course ever did come to light, could you be honoured to help develop it? I'm going to research more in BSL and maybe teach myself some of it, probably enough to also help develop the course on Duolingo. I do know though, that it'll be a while until the course does start to be recognised and enter the Incubator club. I'm going to be here for quite a bit, after German, Portuguese and Maybe Korean. So, if you're around, it'll be nice to see you helping out if you can. :)

(I have upvoted the Cornish option, I'm interested in the language, I find it strangely beautiful)

November 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllaPolmear

Dependent on where you live a lot of deaf people have had access to a bilingual education, where the emphasis is building strong language ability in both BSL and English, which sounds like you have come across. Really great. If I have time (if!) to support a Duolingo course I'm more likely to want to be part of the Cornish team; its my heritage and I feel a strong pull to do what I can to support the language growing and developing. Although, as it is a US based company, I think Duolingo is more like to support an ASL course if they figure out how to pull a visual language course off, I wonder if you might find some like minded deaf people interested in developing a BSL course here via Charlie Swinburne's Limping Chicken blog - http://limpingchicken.com - just a thought.

Thank you for upvoting the request for Cornish, and I know what you mean. I've started learning Cornish this year, and I don't know what I was expecting, but I didn't expect it to be so - musical? BSL always feels like expressive visual poetry to me, Cornish feels like it might be the spoken language equivalent...

November 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

Yeah, Cornish is strange. May I ask on how you're learning it? I cannot find anything to help. Considering that, yes, Duolingo is US based and that's caused some weird issues (Why is English in the American Flag? Why is there no Portuguese Portuguese and Brazilian Portugueses courses and etc. Americanisation!) It'll be nice to see BSL come soon after ASL. While I have little knowledge of BSL, I feel like I could help if (Yep, IF) it ever comes to Duolingo.

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EllaPolmear

I've started using the materials from the Kesva correspondence course, also there's another great course called Keskewsel; so far I've only used the free stuff but I think for both I'm going to sign up to ongoing materials. There is a course called Say Something in Cornish which is really good. I've bought every Cornish language book I can get my hands on, and from all of these I've created some Memrise courses. Most of these are kept private for now as they are works in progress, but I've already put the vocabulary list from Bora Brav on Memrise. It's all a bit slow but steady, but its definitely coming. THere's an annual language weekend held in Cornwall in the spring, and I'm going to sign up for that too. There's also weekly podcasts - if you are on Facebook, there's a group called I pledge to become more fluent in Cornish, and lots of links to materials are posted on there.

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben-14072204

Wow. Thanks for all that. Will definitely check them out. I've also signed up for the Cornish Incubator Course, so you should do that too if you want. It's funny on how a BSL post has changed to be about Cornish.

November 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmmaNisbet1

I would love to be able to learn BSL and I saw they had ASL and wondered why BSL isn't there. I don't know of any places to learn and it should be included in the app

June 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cooldude7000

I agree !

April 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WuraAlabi

A- FRICKEN MEN TO ASL

June 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnCatDubh

I would love to see a BSL course, but I highly doubt it coming to be, for previously mentioned reasons.

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robertoface

I would love this, both for personal and professional reasons. I have BSL qualifications and would be interested in contributing.

However..... as others have said, the user interface would have to be totally overhauled. Pictures aren't enough. You'd need movement, videos, motion tracking for language production, multichannels, etc etc.

And that's not even going into the bajillion regional variations.

I'd love to see this, but I'd be gutted if it doesn't do the language justice. All languages warrant such. And that puzzle needs a solution before this can even start..

October 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jonesrachael96

I agree, I have been trying to find BSL resources, but I can't find anything beyond basic phrases, which is hardly enough to communicate.

December 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elsie_Ok

It would be pretty cool

December 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kitty_O

I would certainly sign up to a BSL course!!

June 10, 2018
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