Last month we celebrated International Day of Sign Languages on September 23rd. I have always found sign languages to be very interesting because of their usage of visuals to convey concepts instead of using sounds. They are full-fledged languages, with their own grammar and lexicon. Although there are a few incredible similarities among sign languages, they are not universal or all mutually intelligible. One of the most frequent misconceptions about sign language is that it can be understood worldwide; however, each community has their own separate sign language. For example, there is British Sign Language for individuals in the UK and American Sign Language exists for users in the United States.
September 23rd is celebrated as the International Day of Sign Languages. It is an exclusive opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. A Global Leaders Challenge was issued by the World Federation of the Deaf in 2020. The main objective of this challenge is to promote the usage of sign languages by global, national, and local leaders in partnership with the National Associations of Deaf people worldwide, along with other deaf-led organisations.
There are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide, according to the World Federation of the Deaf. More than 80% of them live in developing countries. There are more than 300 different sign languages in use, if estimated collectively.
Linguists consider both spoken and signed communication to be types of natural language, Sign languages are not a form of body language. It is just a type of non verbal communication.
In honor of celebrating the diversity that exists in the world of Sign Language in addition to International Day of Sign Languages, I have created multiple blog posts highlighting the different types of sign languages that exist across the world. Click the language that you are interested in below and it will take you to my blog post for that specific language.
English Sign Language