2007: Estonia, Legal Recognition of Estonian Sign Language
Estonian Sign Language was officially recognised on 1 March 2007.
The Language Act recognises Estonian Sign Language (eesti viipekeel, EVK) as an independent language: not using 'sign language' as a generic term. It notes that signed Estonian is a mode of the Estonian (spoken) language (par. 1(3)):
(3) Estonian Sign Language is an independent language and signed Estonian language is a mode of the Estonian language.
Further, it states (Par1(4)):
(4) The state shall promote the use and development of the Estonian language, Estonian Sign Language and signed Estonian language.
Par. 2 "Scope of Application" mentions Estonian Sign Language again, explicitly stating that the Act regulates the Estonian language and the use of Estonian Sign Language, along with 'foreign languages', i.e. minority languages. The Language Act accords Estonian Sign language similar status as the surrounding spoken language, separating it from other minority languages in the country. (..)