/An Introduction to Irish Sign Language (ISL): Accredited QQI/FETAC 3
An Introduction to Irish Sign Language (ISL): Accredited QQI/FETAC 3 2018-02-01T20:08:14+00:00

An Introduction to Irish Sign Language (ISL): Accredited QQI/FETAC Level 3 (ISL 1) course 

‘A Different Language is a different vision of life’…Federico Fellini

Irish Sign Language (ISL) (Teanga Chomharthaíochta na hÉireann) is the the indigenous language of Irish Deaf people and of the Deaf community of Ireland, used primarily in the Republic of Ireland. It is also used in Northern Ireland, though British Sign Language (BSL) is also used there. Irish Sign Language is more closely related to French Sign Language (LSF) than to British Sign Language, though it has influence from both languages. It has influenced sign languages in Australia and South Africa, and has little relation to either spoken Irish or English. It was developed by deaf people themselves and has been in existence for hundreds of years, having been passed down by many generations of Deaf people. It is a visual, spatial language with its own distinct grammar. Not only is it a language of the hands, but also of the face and body.

The following is a list of courses available in Irish Sign Language and highlights the progression track from Basic Beginners to Level 4 ISL. (Levels 1 to 3 are language courses to build learners language skills and knowledge of Irish Sign Language). CTA are currently only offering Level 1 ISL. This is the Accredited QQI/FETAC Level 3 (ISL1) course :

  • Basic ISL – 8 weeks, beginners
  • Basic ISL – 10 weeks, beginners
  • Level 1 ISL (Level 3 QQI)  – beginner level course
  • Level 2 ISL (Level 4 QQI)
  • Level 3 ISL (Level 5 QQI) – weekly, year 1 of 2 year programme
  • Level 4 ISL (Level 6 QQI) – bi-weekly, year 2 of 2 year programme

Our Accredited (ISL 1) course is a Beginners/ Breakthrough course where learners will learn basic ISL skills and cultural knowledge preparing learners to go further on to level 4. This course is suited to those who have little or no previous experience in using sign language. This course introduces the learners to ISL and delivers teaching to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The aim is to bring students to level A1 receptive skills and A1 productive skills to engage a basic conversation with Deaf people. This course also introduces some selected parts of Deaf Culture. Click here for a full course outline!

Classes focus on some of the following topics:

  • Daily greetings
  • Introducing yourself and others
  • Social courtesies
  • Communicating about yourself, i.e. name, job, nationality
  • Communicating about your family
  • Food & drink
  • social and simple work-related signs
  • Directions
  • Time
  • Numbers
  • Deaf culture

Our  Accredited (ISL 1) course is run over 15 weeks (1.5 hours class per week). The CEFR level is Basic User: Level A1 (breakthrough) – A2 (waystage). These courses are classroom based. Classes will commence in February 2018. The course fee is is outlined in the Fee Schedule (up to 12 students max per class).

**All  teachers are qualified Irish Sign Language teachers from the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College and have extensive teaching experience. Teachers have many years of experience teaching ISL with a student– centred approach, with ongoing teacher training sessions, hence you will benefit from well trained teachers who work from an organised curriculum to ensure structured learning of ISL is at the highest quality standard.

To see a list of available courses in sign language and a progression track click here!


Next Course starts: 7th February – 30th May 2018:

Day Time
Wednesday 6:30pm- 8:00pm Basic User A1-A2

*Timetable subject to change

* These classes are subject to demand. For more information and/or to register your interest please contact us now on info@clonmeltuitionacademy.ie

What is Irish Sign Language

  • Irish Sign Language is the first and/or preferred language of 5000 Deaf people in Ireland and approximately 40,000 people in general will communicate in ISL (family, friends, co-workers, etc).
  • Irish Sign Language is the indigenous language of the Deaf community and research shows that sign languages are full languages with their own complex linguistic structure, rules and features. It is a visual and spatial language with its own distinct grammar and not only is it a language of the hands, but also of the face and body.
  • Irish Sign Language has just received official status in Irish legislation on 14th December 2017 and this is a vital achievement of the Irish Deaf Society, getting recognition and upholding the status of ISL in Ireland particularly in education where its acquisition as a first language for Deaf children is so vital.
  • Irish Sign Language is recognised in Northern Ireland and now in the Republic of Ireland
  • Irish Sign Language is different from all other sign languages such as British Sign Language, American Sign Language etc.
  • Ireland is unique in that we have gender sign language, i.e. Men and Women in Ireland have different sign languages due to being educated in separate schools.
  • The Deaf community sees itself as a linguistic and cultural minority group as opposed to being disabled.

*Source: Irish Deaf Society

Click here for a list of Irish sign language letters!

To book an interpreter click here!

Becoming an interpreter!

The Centre for Deaf Studies is part of the School of Linguistic, Speech & Communication Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. If you would like more information, you can contact them using the contact details here.

Click here to see a list of courses in ISL and a progression track!

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions on ISL click here!