26 September a day for those who cannot hear

Not all people can speak, or hear others speaking.  For those who cannot hear sign languages might be a very interesting solution to communicate with each other. Better still would be when hearing people also would learn some basic sings.

Sign languages and their users

Policy-makers consider sign languages in the context of the rights of people with disabilities, or as a linguistic minority right. The United Nations has launched International Day of Sign Languages, to be celebrated for the first time on 23 September 2018.

So, perhaps late in the day I come to mention this. But it is something so important we may not miss out.

Sign languages (SL) are not modelled on spoken languages, yet are languages in their own right, with equally complex rules, grammatical structures and vocabulary that evolve and vary by region, social and age groups; convey meanings and emotions; create social and family bonds; and meet artistic and identity needs. It is a pity there is so much variation in it, instead of one particular sign for the many words in the different languages which mean the same.

A shame there is no universal Sign La,guage, and the EU has a large variety of SLs, including a French SL in France, (a different) French and Flemish SLs in Belgium, as well as, for example, Catalan and Galician ones besides the Spanish SL in Spain. The United Kingdom, the United States and Ireland do not use the same SL; Ireland uses its indigenous SL, while the US SL, having been introduced by the French, has a lot in common with the French SL.

Nevertheless, there is an international system called the International Sign, a sort of lingua franca used at international conferences and meetings where participants do not share a common SL. It does not have a fixed grammar or vocabulary and relies heavily on gestures and context.

The users

One in a thousand persons in the EU (approximately half a million deaf or hard-of-hearing persons) communicates in one of 31 national or regional sign language as their first language. SLs have many more users, since people without hearing problems use them to communicate with deaf family members or friends.

In September 2018, in a recital to an own initiative resolution, the EP recognised that sign languages, being an element of Europe’s linguistic diversity, need to be supported by language technology. ICT solutions could be helpful in providing sign language interpretation. ICT is also seen as a factor for accessibility to audiovisual media services, in a recital of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive due to be adopted in plenary in October.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
This entry was posted in Culture, History, Language, News and Politics, Welfare and Health and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 26 September a day for those who cannot hear

  1. cindy knoke says:

    I learned something new. Thank you.


Feel free to react - Voel vrij om te reageren

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.