ULBS20011/12 - Introduction to British Sign Language - Part 1

This course is not open to external students.

  • Credits: 10
  • Level: 2
  • Pre-requisite: None. This course is not open to members of the public or students without credits.
  • Co-requisite: Due to the nature of this course there is a very strict (100%) attendance policy.
  • Taught during: ULBS20011 (Semester 1); ULBS20012 (Semester 2). Please note ULBS20012 is a repeat of ULBS20011. In semester one, teaching will take place during reading week (w/c 29t October 2018).
  • Timetable: Timetable for this course


This course is for learners who have no previous knowledge of British Sign Language. It aims to give students a basic knowledge of signs so that they are able to participate in simple everyday communicative situations.

The course may be of particular value for students seeking a career in health or education, or for those who have contact with deaf people through work, friends or family. It may also be of intrinsic interest to linguists. The course does not lead to a formal vocational qualification, but students who successfully complete this course may register with the Manchester Deaf Centre to take the Signature 101 (this is the first part of the Signature BSL Level 1. Note that this is optional; it is an external examination which will incur a fee and will not replace the assessment of this course).

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • be able to understand short, simple messages in BSL;
  • be able to make themselves understood using BSL in simple, routine situations
  • demonstrate an ability to use a basic vocabulary and a simple grammar;
  • be aware of current issues related to the deaf community.

By the end of the course, students should be able to communicate at a level equivalent to Level A1 of the Common European Framework.

Transferable skills

Working in pairs, awareness of the non-hearing experience, enhanced linguistic and communicative awareness, appreciation of deaf culture.

Teaching and learning methods

Seminars, two hours per week.


  • Independent project 750 words (week 8): 30% (a reflective report about learning and using BSL within the deaf community)
  • Comprehension test - a signed BSL storey (multiple-choice questions) (week 9): 30%
  • Presentation (week 11): 20%
  • Conversation (week 12): 20%


Nature and timing of feedback

Feedback will include a combination of informal ongoing feedback resulting from class based learning activities and formal written feedback given following final assessment.


Justyna Drobnik-Rogers

Taught by

Dipti Patel

Maximum entry

15 per group

Set texts

There is no set text for this course. However, students use a free online resource. Here the signs are demonstrated by very experienced users and teachers of British Sign Language by moving pictures that clearly show the method of signing, plus a detailed description.

Recommended texts

  • The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction. Rachel Sutton-Spence and Bencie Woll. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521637183