Most deaf people who use sign language in the UK use BSL (British Sign Language). BSL combines hand gestures, facial expressions and body language to communicate words, letters and phrases. It’s estimated that around 100,00 people use BSL as their preferred language, making it the most popular sign language used in the UK.
BSL became recognized as an official language in March 2003. However, while attempts have been made to ascertain the exact number of BSL users, they have been unsuccessful in getting an accurate figure.
BSL is different to the spoken English language in that it has its own grammar and sentence construction. For example, in english you would ask for someones name with the phrase “What is your name?”, in BSL the sentence is worded as “Your name, what?”. When there is no particular sign for a word, BSL can be used to spell it out using finger spelling techniques.