Short courses


British Sign Language (BSL) Linguistics for BSL Tutors

  • 5 hours (10am - 4pm)
  • 1 day


This one-day short course aims to give British Sign Language (BSL) teachers basic background training on the linguistics of BSL.

You'll be introduced to:

  • BSL phonology (how a BSL sign is formed)
  • BSL morphology (how meaningful elements are combined to make a sign)
  • the BSL Corpus as a resource for students and teachers

The course is run by the DCAL (Deafness, Cognition and Language) Research Centre at UCL.

Bespoke training

This course can also be provided as bespoke training for your organisation. Please contact dcalcourses@ucl.ac.uk for more information.

Who this course is for

This course is suitable for BSL teachers, interpreters and anyone interested in learning about BSL linguistics.

Entry requirements

You should have Level 3 in BSL or native signing skills. The course is taught in BSL, there will be no BSL-English interpreting available.

Course content

The course will cover:

  • Introduction to BSL linguistics
  • BSL phonology
  • BSL morphology
  • BSL Corpus project

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you'll have an understanding of the following concepts:

  • classifiers
  • the use of space
  • BSL sentence functions (affirmation, negation, questions)

Course team

Dr Robert Adam

Dr Robert Adam

Robert is a Research Associate at UCL’s Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL). He undertakes research into sign language in the everyday lives of deaf people.

He's a deaf native signer and has been involved with sign language teaching and research for a many years, including at City University, and the National Institute for Deaf Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He’s a trustee of the Royal Association of the Deaf.

Dr Kearsy Cormier

Dr Kearsy Cormier

Kearsy is a Senior Researcher at DCAL. She is a linguist specialising in a variety of aspects of the linguistic structure of sign languages, especially BSL. She was formerly a lecturer at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol.

Professor Bencie Woll

Professor Bencie Woll

Bencie holds the Chair in Sign Language and Deaf Studies and is Director of DCAL.

She was a co-founder of the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol, pioneering research on the linguistics of BSL and on deaf studies. Her research and teaching interests include the linguistics of BSL and other sign languages, the history and sociolinguistics of BSL and the Deaf community, the development of BSL in young children, and sign language and the brain.

She co-authored The Linguistics of BSL: an Introduction with Rachel Sutton-Spence, which was the winner of the 1999 Deaf Nation Award and 2000 British Association of Applied Linguistics Book Prize.

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 15:59