BSL is a visual language. Signers use the space in front of and at the side of their bodies in which to make their signs. Imagine a picture frame around yourself which stretches from just above your head to just below your waist and out to each side just beyond your elbows.
When you are signing in your signing space it is important that your eyes follow your moving hands.
Signers use signing space to place and locate people, objects, buildings and places. This is called PLACEMENT and is a very important part of signing. Placement is used in two different ways.
You can introduce people into a conversation by signing their names then placing them in your signing space. You can then refer back to them as ‘he’ or ‘she’ by just pointing to where you placed them instead of signing their name again. This is called SYNTACTIC placement.
Signing space can also be used to show where places, objects and buildings are situated in relation to each other for example to describe the layout of a room. This is called TOPOGRAPHIC placement.