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Recognise sign language as Linguistic minority

category national | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Friday April 08, 2005 00:40author by Aidan Report this post to the editors

The Irish Deaf association are having a demonstration on Sunday. The aim is to get sign language recognised as an offical language andd to be recognised as an official language.

The Irish Deaf Society has been at the forefront of a long struggle by Irish deaf People to preserve their language and culture. For the deaf community official recognition of Irish Sign Language (ISL) has been an issue of huge cultural and human rights significance. A formal proposal of ISL has been submitted to the government.

ISL is the indigenous language of Irish deaf people and of the deaf community. ISL has been passed down from generations of deaf people. it is a distinct visual and spatial language with its own distinct grammar. it is a language of the hands, face and body.

there are approx 5,000 people in Ireland who's first language is ISL as well as an additional language for another 40,000.

The European Parliament called on member states to recognise their respective national sign languages in 1988 and again in 1998. Despite this only Denmark, UK, Finland, Portugal, and Sweden have done so.

The right to use ones own language is a human rights issue. Like all linguistic minorities the deaf community have only limited access to the dominant communicational structures in the broader community. Thus wide areas of society are inaccessible to the deaf community. There is a need for improved access to education, health, and media to name but a few and recognising ISL as an official language will help bring down many barriers of this linguistic minority and offer them the beginnings of entering society as an equal.

All support welcome and spread the word.

Irish Deaf Society

The National Association of the Deaf

Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Our Identity and Pride Parade

Sunday, 10th April 2005

Commencing at 2.00pm

At Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

Route of the Parade:

O'Connell Street, O' Connell Bridge, D'Olier Street, College Green, Nassau Street and Kildare Street

Ending at St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.

It will be followed by the ISL Choir by Irish Deaf Youth Association

author by iosafpublication date Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The movement for sign language to be accepted as a language is growing throughout the EU. There are 200,000,000 users of sign, and it is important to remember that not all are deaf or hearing impaired. The campaigns have developed well but slowly since the bad days when (for example) a hearing impaired girl was turned away from oxford and with protest accepted by cambridge. Doncaster Univ. have present online dictionaries of technical and artistic sign, many of the words are common to the Irish system - but not all.
Sign languages developed from many different traditions of non-verbalised communication but many in europe may be traced to the work of the Spanish painter Goya.
Many states face the further challenge of mediation between different types of sign language. For example in the UK there are two sign systems to be found, one based on the Irish (and dominant european one hand lettering system) and the other based on BSlan two hand lettering. This resulted from different charity interests and traditions in the education of the deaf. The syntax of sign language is different from spoken language, learning it will help you understand how we may communicate.

At the moment in the spanish state attempts are being made to move to recognise fully both spanish and catalan sign. The catalan parliament met with the activists at the turn of the year, and decided to include an interpreter in their broadcasts on web and cable tv but went no further.
Make no mistake "in the hearing community", the role of a deaf interpreter in the challenge to the first Ukranian elections of 2004 was pivotal. Though she broke the professional code, (by adding personal opinion at the end of the sentance), in *the world of silence* she *said* the truth, she signed - " I don't believe these results this is not true ". in less than an hour the world knew.

& the rest is history.

Inclusion of all minorities with disablities recognises the diversity of our societies, and helps remind the mediocre meritocracy or heridatary plutocracy that they too are "disabled".
And it goes beyond mere gestures, it means expanding the use of sign to hearing children, that everyone knows the basics.

Put your hand to your chin with the fingertips touching it - back of hand to person in front - bring it downwards and outwards in a curved movement. = "thank you".

Let us know how it goes :-)

author by .publication date Fri Apr 08, 2005 12:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors



author by disabled martial artistpublication date Fri Apr 08, 2005 22:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maysfield leisure centre in Belfast was the only progressive, neutral, non sectarian sports training centre, with a code of conduct relating to equality of sporting opportunity for the disabled, those with physical and mental disablities and also an anti racism policy. Sadly Maysfield was closed and since then, the authorities have made no attempts or shown signs of replacing it, soon or in the near future.

Instead millions are being spent revuvenating the exclusive Queens PEC. Queens PEC may spearhead the latest in training techniques for athletic and sporting excellence, but it is lagging behind, with regard to it's policies on equality of sporting opportunity for the disabled and in terms of anti-racism.

author by excellence in sports, but not in disability awarenesspublication date Fri Apr 08, 2005 22:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm deaf and i did a martial art at Queens PEC, I won't say which one it was, but the instructor/Sir as this particular martial art calls their instructors, would spend the entire class, screaming at me. I was too embarrassed to admit being deaf.

author by tokpublication date Sat Apr 09, 2005 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

200,000,000 users of sign? thousand d'ye mean ?

author by -publication date Sat Apr 09, 2005 16:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The deaf and hearing impaired vary from country to country but average 5%, more are found in closed genepools. That means 5% of the population of the EU are deaf or hearing impaired = 24 million deaf or partially deaf users.
There are some surprisingly high concentrations of deafness in Madagascar and the carribean. There are some areas where more sign languages are more used than written languages.
in the developed west alone there are 120,000,000 users of sign including totally deaf, impaired hearing and their teachers, friends, family, interpreters and representatives.

.:. Beethoven was, as you know in the end deaf,
but due to lack of proper health care, for which he had no right. Nor did he have a right to a home, a job or a pension & he incidently believed in God .:.

Which is sort of neatly connected to why we're getting a new EU constitution after the french reject it, like I told you would happen. (but the article was edited)

author by redjadepublication date Sat Apr 09, 2005 17:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Back in the 80's when the Sandinistas ruled in Nicaragua they had a crazy idea - being socialists that had a radical idea that ALL children should get an education, whew!, idealistic stuff back in the day... good thing Reagan and Daddy Bush squashed the Sandis before others in the region caught on to the idea.

This included deaf children.

So they created the first ever Nicaraguan school for deaf kids - two of them, in fact.

If you're interested in 'self-organising systems' (aka anarchy and such) please read the following NY Times article from 1999 - truly fascinating stuff....


A Linguistic Big Bang

Following the 1979 Sandinista revolution, the newly installed Nicaraguan Government inaugurated the country's first large-scale effort to educate deaf children. Hundreds of students were enrolled in two Managua schools. Not being privy to the more than 200 existing sign languages used by hearing-impaired people around the world, Managua's deaf children started from ground zero. They had no grammar or syntax -- only crude gestural signs developed within their own families. These pantomimes, which deaf kids use to communicate basic needs like "eat," "drink" and "ice cream," are called mimicas in Spanish.

Most of the children arrived in Managua with only a limited repertory of mimicas. But once the students were placed together, they began to build on one another's signs. One child's gesture solidified into the community's word. The children's inexperienced teachers -- who were having paltry success communicating with their profoundly deaf students -- watched in awe as the kids began signing among themselves. A new language had begun to bloom.

A decade later, the children's creation has become a sensation of modern linguistics. Nicaraguan Sign Language (known to experts as I.S.N., for Idioma de Signos Nicaragense) has been patiently decoded by outside scholars, who describe an idiom filled with curiosities yet governed by the same "universal grammar" that the linguist Noam Chomsky claims structures all language. Steven Pinker, author of "The Language Instinct," sees what happened in Managua as proof that language acquisition is hard-wired inside the human brain. "The Nicaraguan case is absolutely unique in history," he maintains. "We've been able to see how it is that children -- not adults -- generate language, and we have been able to record it happening in great scientific detail. And it's the first and only time that we've actually seen a language being created out of thin air."

author by -publication date Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

3 May 2005

Centre for Deaf Studies - Analysing Sign Language Poetry
Centre for Deaf Studies Occasional Lectures
Analysing Sign Language Poetry
Dr. Rachel Sutton-Spence, Centre for Deaf Studies, University of Bristol
Tuesday May 3rd 2005 from 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Emmet Theatre, Room 2037, Arts Building, University of Dublin, Trinity College
ISL/English interpretation provided.

Admission Free

Analysing Sign Language Poetry

Sign Language poetry is the highest form of art language of Deaf communities. The language used in the poems, while visual, rather than sound-based, shows many similar features to poems in spoken language. Using sign poems, this lecture will show how elements such as repetition, symmetry and creativity in signing can be used to produce complex and beautiful poetry.

The presenter
Dr. Rachel Sutton-Spence is senior lecturer in Deaf Studies, at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol. She has researched and lectured widely on sign language linguistics and sign language poetry. She is the co-author (with Bencie Woll) of the award-winning book "The Linguistics of British Sign Language", which is published by Cambridge University Press (1999) and author of "Analysing Sign Language Poetry" (2005, Palgrave Press)

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