This site aims to aid individuals who wish to learn Irish Sign Language (ISL). ISL is a visual
language. It is not based on any spoken language (English, Irish etc). It is simply the term used
to describe the sign language used in the Republic of Ireland.
The idea to create this site came about after I studied sign language in a classroom environment.
Sign Language can be difficult to revise after a lesson. We cannot simply write down the vocabulary
we are learning to revise later as we are using hand gestures and not written words. Many people try
to draw signs as they learn them, however it is very difficult to demonstrate on paper how a sign
should be carried out.This makes practicing the signs outside of class very difficult. This is what
first brought about the idea of having an online area where people could look up and learn signs.The
site can be used as a tool for those who are not taking classes as well as a tool to aid classroom learning.
In learning this language it is useful to know the following facts. Firstly as mentioned above ISL is not
based on spoken language. Therefore not every word that we know and use in spoken language necessarily has a
translation or is used in ISL. For example while there are signs for prepositions like 'are' they are not always
used. More often than not someone will sign 'How you?' rather than 'how are you?'.
A second fact that is useful to know is the value of the Irish sign language alphabet. Many words in ISL are
formed using the letters of the alphabet. This is helpful as it is a way of remembering the sign. The word happy,
for example, is made by making a 'H' sign with both hands and rolling them down the chest. Also many words in ISL
are finger spelled. That is spelled out using the ISL alphabet. When meeting somone for the first time you finger
spell your name. Many countries and some of the months of the year are fingerspelled also.
A final fact to note is that facial expression is very important when using ISL. For example if we are asking a
question it is important to raise your eyebrows to indicate this.
Feel free to browse this site, revise some ISL or learn some new words. Enjoy!