Celebrating Sign Languages Around The World!
How many languages do you know? Two? Three? Or five? No matter what the number is, you still won’t be able to communicate with 72 million people across the world.
Wondering why? These 72 million people are hearing and speech impaired. What we must remember is that these are not just 72 million people, but potentially 72 million life-changing and uncommunicated ideas.
To overcome this challenge, the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has given sign languages equal status with the languages spoken around the world. This, however, is not enough to bridge the communication gap that exists between the speakers and non-speakers of sign languages.
Knowing Different Sign Languages
Sign languages, yes, you read it right! There is more than one sign language in the world that is unique and independent of spoken languages. According to the UN, our goal should be to bring sign languages to popular usage around the world. While most of the world is yet to adopt sign language, it is already the fourth most-used language in the United Kingdom.
To bring out the importance of sign languages and merge them into common usage, the World Federation of the Deaf has been observing the International Sign Language Day on September 23 since 2018. The federation is an association of 135 nations representing the rights of the hearing impaired.
Understanding sign languages in any country is not as difficult as it seems. Like any other language, they have their own grammar rules. Once you get a hang of the rules, learning the language will be as simple as ABC. For instance, the UK’s sign language is a combination of signs, expressions and body language that together bring out the true meaning of what is being said.
The Sign Language of India
The Indian sign language was developed by a group of 15 people, combining not less than 7,000 signs. These signs help people with hearing impairment participate in academic, legal, medical and conversational interactions. Interestingly, there are just 700 schools in India that teach sign language. The UN’s mission can only be achieved when this number increases and sign languages become a part of every school’s curriculum.
This year’s theme for International Sign Language Day is “We Sign for Human Rights’’. The aim is to promote and protect the rights of people with hearing impairment to express, connect, be heard and be part of society. Let’s celebrate the sign languages used around the world and hope that the goal set for sign languages is achieved real soon!