Sign Languages

Disability inclusion resources from around the world

Library > Subjects > Communication and Language > Sign Languages

This page has curated news on Sign Languages. There are resources from 25 countries and regions, with a total of 67 links.

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Highlights

From International News:

Access to National Sign Languages as a Health Need. A position paper. (2023, WFD)

From Israel:

The Vulnerability of Emerging Sign Languages. An article on how Kufr Qassem Sign Language is merging with Israeli Sign Language as its users show a preference towards ISL. (link to pdf, 2022, MDPI)

From the United Kingdom:

Signs for Change review of a beautiful documentary by Rose Ayling-Ellis. See also an interview with Rose: “Nobody deaf in this country has the profile I have. I just want to get it right.” (2023, the Guardian)

From the United States:

How Deaf and Hearing Friends Co-Navigate the World: “friendterpreting” and the everyday ways people communicate. (2022, Sapiens)

Resources by country:

Global

International News

Position Paper on the Right to Sign Language for Families of Deaf Children (May, World Federation of the Deaf)

Create a World of Deaf Readers Standards for Sign Language Storybooks.

“The vast majority of deaf children and youth worldwide are not exposed to an accessible language, such as sign languages, until they start formal schooling. This results in serious delayed cognitive and language development in early childhood. Even when in school, only 1–2 percent of deaf students receive education in their sign language, leaving a large percentage of deaf students without access to a sign language in school” (2023, All Children Reading)

Why Sign Language Translation Poses a Puzzle for AI. (2023, Slator)

Fake sign language is spreading on TikTok. “Sign language has become trendy on TikTok, but many videos feature incorrect signs, sparking fears the trend will cause lasting damage to American Sign Language” (2023, Washington Post) see also the same problem in New Zealand.

Access to National Sign Languages as a Health Need. A position paper. (2023, WFD)

Evidence for superior encoding of detailed visual memories in deaf signers. “Our findings add to evidence showing that deaf signers are at an advantage [... in the] retention of detailed visual memories over the longer term.” (2022, Scientific Reports)

World Federation of the Deaf celebration of international mother language day: "by specifically recognizing the right of deaf people to have access in all areas of their lives to their Mother Language, sign language." (2022)

The Global Digital Library has books available in three sign-languages, namely Cambodian, Kenyan and Rwandan. (2022)

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Africa

Africa

Why do deaf Africans struggle to access their rights? A brief look at sign-language use in several countries. (2023, DW)

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Egypt

Numerals in Egyptian Sign Language from a Typological Perspective. (2022, North African Linguistics)

Fingerspelling Systems in Egyptian Sign Language (2022, North African Linguistics)

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Kenya

Teaching sign language will be of benefit to all Kenyans (2023, Nation)

Deaf Persons Open A Centre To Promote Use Of Kenya Sign Language. (2023, Kenya News Agency)

Govt Offices to Start Using Sign Language in New Law (2022, Kenyans)

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South Africa

Sign language is set to become South Africa’s 12th official language after a long fight for recognition. (2023, The Conversation)

South African Sign Language set to become official language (2022, Disability Insider)

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Uganda

Reasonable accommodation for Deaf persons on why provision of a sign language interpreter needs to be accompanied by further measures. (2022, IDA)

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Asia

India

What’s the sign for ‘centrifuge’? How we added scientific terms to Indian Sign Language (Feb, Nature)

In A First, Deaf Lawyer Sara Sunny Argues Supreme Court Case In Sign Language “Chief Justice Chandrachud has been calling for ensuring equal access to justice. Last year, he ordered a detailed accessibility audit of the Supreme Court complex to make the justice system more accessible and to understand the challenges faced by differently abled people when they come to the court.” (2023, NDTV) See further on the BBC.

With 260 new terms Indian Sign language enables communication on banking bonds and trade. (2023, Times of India)

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Israel

The Vulnerability of Emerging Sign Languages. An article on how Kufr Qassem Sign Language is merging with Israeli Sign Language as its users show a preference towards ISL. (link to pdf, 2022, MDPI)

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Malaysia

Maybank explores language of inclusivity featuring the deaf community, this Chinese New Year (Feb, Marketing-Interactive)

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Nepal

Supporting deaf learners in Nepal via Sustainable Development Goal 4: Inclusive and equitable quality education in sign languages. (2022, Int. Journal of Speech-Language Pathology)

Nepal’s first PhD candidate from the deaf community campaigns to promote Sign language (2022, Nepali Times)

The eye and the other: Language and ethics in deaf Nepal (2022, American Anthropologist)

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Singapore

Deaf community welcomes study on an official sign language but educational challenges remain:

“A government study on whether to turn a local sign language into a national one is welcomed [...] The Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) is a 70-year-old home-grown mix of Shanghainese and American sign languages that also uses manually-coded English and words from the local vernacular.” (Feb, Channel News Asia)

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South Korea

In a K-Pop First, Deaf Members Debut as 'Big Ocean' | Be Korea-savvy “They will perform songs in Korean sign language, English sign language and international sign”. (Mar, the Korea Bizwire)

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United Arab Emirates

How to sing in sign language: meet the interpreter joining Mohammed Abdu on stage (2022, The National News)

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Europe

United Kingdom

British Sign Language GCSE set to launch in 2025 (2023, TES magazine)

How is sign language adapting to climate change? 200 environmental science terms that have their own new official signs in British Sign Language (BSL). (2023, BBC)

Stormzy Interpreter On Making Grime Accessible (2023, Dig!)

Signs for Change review of a beautiful documentary by Rose Ayling-Ellis. See also an interview with Rose: “Nobody deaf in this country has the profile I have. I just want to get it right.” (2023, the Guardian)

Work to be done on census figures for BSL: discusses methodology and estimates 150,000 BSL signers in the country. (2022, BDA)

Sign Language is My Language a series of “new perspectives on the experience of being deaf in 21st-century Britain.” (2022, BBC)

Sign language used in court as deaf jurors with own interpreters used for first time in England. (2022, Daily Mail)

Why I co-created a Twitter bot for BSL interpreter requests (2022, The Limping Chicken)

Sign language 999 BSL service launched for deaf people (2022, BBC)

A Sociolinguistic History of British Sign Language in Northern Ireland. "The study shows how the Protestant schools played an important role in the transmission of BSL in the island of Ireland." (2022, Sign Language Studies)

Why everyone should learn some sign language (2022, New Scientist)

British Sign Language to become recognised language in the UK (2022, the Guardian)

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North America

Canada

How Indigenous sign language is helping this woman connect with her culture (2022, CBC)

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El Salvador

Mother reports that her son was detained by police for “making signs”. The deaf son uses sign-language to communicate, and the police claim that “mysterious signs” were “alluding to gangs”. (In Spanish, Jan, La Prensa)

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United States

Hawaii's Deaf Community Is Struggling With Lack Of Certified ASL Interpreters (Apr, Honolulu Civil Beat)

‘A beautiful way of saying a lot’: sign language brings benefits to the organic chemistry classroom. “We’ve created this organic chemistry lexicon with the Deaf community in mind, but we are starting to see its universal design advantages.” (Mar, Nature)

American Sign Language Reveals Wordplay Beyond Sound a learner of ASL finds new ways to wordplay. (Mar, New York Times)

How Dune shows us the power of language – including sign language:

“While not deaf themselves, Dune’s characters show us deaf gain through deft manipulation of their environment, from the stealth of their signs to their attunement to the vibrations they make in the sand, which they use to attract or repel the giant beasts below.” (Mar, The Conversation)

NFL Player learning ASL and bringing his own flair to the language (2023, NPR)

Sign Language Is Often Glamorized. So Why Isn’t Accessibility Taken More Seriously? (2023, Elle)

Deaf rappers who lay down rhymes in sign languages are changing what it means for music to be heard. Dip-hop “signals an independent style grounded in both hip-hop and Deaf culture.” (2023, The Conversation)

How recognizing American Sign Language will serve Hawaiʻi's local deaf community. (2023, Hawaiʻi public radio)

How ASL performer Justina Miles stole the show at Super Bowl LVII. (2023, CNN)

Native American sign language arrives at the Super Bowl. (2023, Washington Post)

Crip Linguistics Goes to School:

“Because the school environment provides another way for deaf children to acquire language, professional signed language fluency is critical. Yet, in other second language acquisition contexts, fluency is not necessary for effective teaching and often highly racialized. If perceived fluency is often dependent on proximity to whiteness, and language fluency is not necessary for effective teaching, then why is it necessary to require professionals to be fluent in signed languages before teaching and working with deaf children?” (2023, Languages)

How These Sign Language Experts Are Bringing More Diversity to Theater “As productions increasingly include characters and perspectives from a variety of backgrounds, deaf and hearing people who translate the shows for deaf audiences are trying to keep up.” (2023, New York Times)

Why Sign Language Was Banned in America part of a video series exploring sign language. (2022, Storied, PBS)

How Deaf and Hearing Friends Co-Navigate the World: “friendterpreting” and the everyday ways people communicate. (2022, Sapiens)

How Sign Language Evolves as Our World Does. (2022, NYT)

The Need For Black Sign Language Interpreters In Hip-Hop (2022, Okayplayer)

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Oceania

Australia

The art of interpreting standup comedy in sign language. (2022, the Guardian)

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New Zealand

'World-first' as NZ Sign Language used at 35,000 feet “Deaf New Zealanders on a flight from Auckland to Wellington have — for the first time — been given flight-safety instructions in their own language.” (May, 1 News)

Deaf community hopeful airline safety videos will feature NZSL Chief Ombudsman ruled the regulatory body's decision not to include it is "unreasonable". (2023, 1 News)

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Solomon Islands

Trainings for deaf and hearing people in Australian Sign Language to go out “into remote communities” to teach sign language. (2022, RNZ)

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Vanuatu

Left out of society: Vanuatu’s deaf community push for national sign language. (2022, the Guardian)

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South America

Chile

In drafting of the new constitution sign-language has been recognised as an official language (2022, UN Special Envoy on Twitter)

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