Have you ever watched people who are fluent in American Sign Language have a conversation? I think its one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, like a ballet of hands.
I had the good fortune of meeting a Deaf man where I used to work; and in my efforts to carry on a reasonable facsimile of a conversation with him, I asked him to teach me sign language. At first he was reluctant, having been asked before by others who maybe weren't willing to commit to learning the language or to spend enough time practicing. So initially he refused.
But I've been known to be persistent (ahem, for anyone who knows me), and I continued to attempt conversations with him with my faltering fingerspelling. And eventually, he figured out that I was serious about learning the language.
So he began to teach me signs for words and phrases, as I asked for them, allowing me to learn at my own pace and become more comfortable with the language. Early in these "lessons", I came to the realization that it is a very complex language which uses not only the hands, but the facial expressions and body language of the signer. It's a language built on the real meanings of words, and not just the words themselves.
Eventually, he taught me this sign which means "I love you,"
and we usually end our conversations with this (and a hug).
Because this person who I met at work has now been my very good friend for 15 years.