Sign Language (work in progress)
David Fredrik (Fritz) Hirn (1834–1910) is a pioneer of Finland’s Deaf club activities. He was a well-liked teacher in the Turku Deaf School and founded the first kindergarten for Deaf children. Even after retiring, he started collecting the first Finnish sign language dictionary.
Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a Scottish-born American inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone.
Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech. Both his mother and wife were deaf, profoundly influencing Bell's life's work.
His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in Bell being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone, on March 7, 1876.
In 1904, Veditz became president of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). He had strong opinions about preserving sign language, so during his years as president he worked closely with Oscar Regensburg, the first chairman of NAD's Motion Picture Fund Committee to produce some of the earliest films that recorded sign language.
Consequently, these videos are some of the most significant documents in deaf history.
Stokoe is often considered to be the "father of linguistics" in the field of American Sign Language. His research on American Sign Language (ASL) revolutionized the understanding of ASL in the United States and sign languages throughout the world.
Stokoe's work led to a widespread recognition that sign languages are true languages, exhibiting syntax and morphology, and are not mere systems of gesture. This work redefined the concept of "language" itself, and influenced thinking in theoretical linguistics, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, neural studies, and even jurisprudence.
In May 1981, the Swedish Parliament decided that: “deaf have to be bilingual to function amongst themselves and in society. Bilingualism on their part means that they have to be fluent in their visual/gestural language and in the language that surrounds them, Swedish.” This decision is recognised as acceptance that Swedish Sign Language is the first language of Swedish deaf people.
On 17 June 1988, the European Parliament unanimously approved a resolution about sign languages. The resolution suggests that all member states recognise their sign languages as official languages of the Deaf community.
On May 4, 1995, The Government of the Republic of Lithuania has officially recognized Lithuanian Sign Language as the native language of the deaf.
Finnish Sign Language was recognised in the constitution in August 1995:
Section 17 - Right to one's language and culture [...] The rights of persons using sign language and of persons in need of interpretation or translation aid owing to disability shall be guaranteed by an Act.
The National Council of the Slovak Republic passed a law recognizing "Sign Language as a language of communication of the Deaf"
Slovakia has a separate Law on the Sign Language of the Deaf. The Slovak Union of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing was mainly involved in drafting this law. It took over three years of fighting until the law was passed in 1995.
It recognises sign language as the language of the Deaf.
The Official Language Law of 9 December 1999, which came into force on 1 September 2000, gave Latvian Sign Language a legal status in Section 3.3, which stipulates: 'The State shall ensure the development and use of the Latvian sign language for communication with people with impaired hearing."
The government endorsed the proposal to set down the Slovenian sign language as an official language in the constitution on Thursday, starting the procedure of enabling the Slovenian deaf and hearing-impaired community to fully exercise their basic human rights.
The law on the use of the Slovenian sign language from 2002 gives the children the right to have an interpreter to a limited extent, but it does not grant the language the necessary status.
German Sign Language was first legally recognised in The Federal Disability Equality Act (2002) in May 2002. Since then, deaf people have a legal entitlement to Sign Language interpreters when communicating with federal authorities, free of charge.
"The revised Constitution was published 20 September 1997, with PSL included in Article 74, Education:
In the implementation of its policy for education, it is the duty of the State:
- To protect and value the Portuguese Sign Language as cultural expression and instrument of access to education and equality of opportunities."
In 1998, the Czech parliament passed a bill that Czech Sign Language was officially recognized as the first language of the Deaf people in Czech Republic.
Belgium's Parliament of the French Community recognised French Belgian Sign Language (LSFB) by decree in October 2003. The recognition entails:
- cultural (symbolic) recognition
- the formation of a commission to advise the Government of the French Communityin all LSFB-related matters
Flemish Sign Language (Dutch: Vlaamse Gebarentaal or VGT) was recognised on 24 April 2006 by the Flemish Parliament.
Cultural recognition entails that the Flemish Government recognises the Flemish Sign Language as the language of the Deaf Community in Flanders.
On June 28, 2007, Spanish and Catalan Sign Languages were recognised by the Spanish Parliament to be official languages in Spain.
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.
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 Macedonian sign language (Macedonian: македонски знаковен јазик, romanized: makedonski znakoven jazik or македонски гестовен јазик, makedonski gestoven jazik) is the sign language of the deaf community in North Macedonia.
The Macedonian Sign language is regulated by a national law on 21 August 2009.
In November 2009 the Hungarian Parliament unanimously passed an act on Hungarian Sign Language and the protection of Hungarian Sign Language.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the deaf have the same language rights with sign language as the hearing do with oral language. Interpreters must be provided between sign and Serbo-Croatian for deaf people dealing with government bodies, and government television broadcasts must be translated into sign language.
In June 2011, Icelandic Sign Language was officially recognized as a first language. The law now states that Icelandic Sign Language is the first language of those who must rely on it for expression and communication, and of their children. The government authorities shall nurture and support it.
Article 5 of the Act also ensures that the government must promote all aspects of education and awareness in regards to Icelandic Sign Language.
In 2012, under the "Sign Language Act", Polish Sign Language ("Polski Język Migowy", PJM) received official status in Poland and can be chosen as the language of instruction by those who require it.
On May 13, 2014, Danish sign language was recognized as equivalent to the Danish language by an overwhelming majority in The Danish Parliament.
The Danish Parliament established the Danish Sign Language Council "to devise principles and guidelines for the monitoring of the Danish sign language and offer advice and information on the Danish sign language."
In 2014, Albanian Sign language was legally recognized.
Albanian Sign Language (AlbSL, Albanian: Gjuha e Shenjave Shqipe) is one of the deaf sign languages of Europe. It is unrelated to other sign languages of the Balkans.
It is relatively young, having developed primarily since the collapse of Communism in 1990.
On Thursday 17 September 2015 the British Sign Language (BSL) (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously by all Parties in the Chamber in the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
This new Act will work towards improving the daily life of the Scottish Deaf population and could shake up where the Deaf community choose to call home.
Maltese Sign Language (Maltese: Lingwa tas-Sinjali Maltija, or LSM) was officially recognised by the Parliament of Malta in March 2016.
The Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016 passed the Irish Parliament on 14 December 2017, and was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins on 24 December of that year.
The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 23 September as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf.
On Monday 22 May 2017, minister Cahen submitted a bill to parliament to make German sign language an official language of the grand duchy of Luxembourg. The bill will give deaf or hard of hearing the right to an interpreter when they deal with state administrative bodies, if approved.
"Tuesday 22 September, the Senate of the Dutch Parliament voted about the Law recognition Sign Language of the Netherlands. It was approved unanimously. With this law, Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT, Nederlandse Gebarentaal) becomes an official language in the Netherlands, next to Dutch and Frisian."
21st of January 2021 was a big day for the Bulgarian Deaf Community and especially to those who have worked hard in pushing the Bulgarian Sign Language Act through over the last couple of years: the Bulgarian Sign Language (BGSL) was finally recognized as an official language in Bulgaria.