International Day of Sign Languages 2022: History, theme and significance

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To raise awareness about the significance of sign language, the International Day of Sign Languages is marked every year on 23 September. This day provides us with the opportunity to support the linguistic and cultural identity of deaf people and other individuals who use sign language.

According to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD),there are more than 70 million deaf people in the world, and 80 percent of them live in developing countries. More than 300 sign languages are used by people collectively. The International Day of Sign Languages encourages early access to sign language and services in sign language like quality education, which is crucial for the development and growth of the hearing-impaired community.

History:

The WFD gave the proposal for establishing International Day of Sign Languages. The date chosen for the celebration was 23 September, as it marked the anniversary of the WFD’s formation in 1951. This day was commemorated for the first time in 2018 as a part of International Week of the Deaf. The International Week of the Deaf takes place in the fourth week of September every year. It was celebrated for the first time in 1958.

Theme:

This year’s theme for the International Day of Sign Languages is “Sign Languages Unite Us!”

Significance:

Here are some interesting facts related to the deaf and hard of hearing community which will help you better understand the significance of International Day of Sign Languages:

  • Sign language is not a universal language. In the United States and parts of Canada, the deaf community uses the American Sign Language (ASL). In the UK, British Sign Language (BSL) is used by the deaf community.
  • American Sign Language has a totally different structure, grammar and syntax from the English language.
  • The third most common disability in the world is deafness according to the British Deaf Association (BDA).
  • Nine of 10 deaf children are born to hearing parents, but only one out of those parents learn sign language, as per the BDA.

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International Day of Sign Languages 2022: History, theme and significance
International Day of Sign Languages 2022: History, theme and significance
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