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International Day of Sign Languages

Celebrating the art of conversing through visuals!

No human is perfect, everyone has their own hurdles of challenges to overcome. Yet, it is within these very gaps of necessity that the seeds of invention find fertile ground to sprout. In line with historical records, Charles Michel de l’Eppe pioneered the development of the first formal sign language in the 1700s. His vision revolved around “teaching deaf people through the eye what other people acquire through the ear”. Thus, it was his visionary approach that established the bedrock for the education of the deaf and mute.

Sign languages are complete and distinct languages with their own grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. They are visual-spatial languages that rely on handshapes, facial expressions, body movements, and gestures to convey meaning. Just like spoken languages, sign languages vary from country to country and even within regions.

The International Day of Sign Languages is an annual observance held on September 23rd along with International Week of the Deaf, to raise awareness about the importance of sign languages and the rights of deaf individuals. Recognized by the United Nations, this day aims to celebrate the linguistic and cultural diversity of sign languages worldwide and also coincides with the date of the establishment of the World Federation of the Deaf in 1951. Thus, this alignment additionally serves to commemorate the formation of this influential organization, which has been instrumental in advocating for the rights and well-being of deaf individuals globally.

The International Day of Sign Languages serves as a platform to highlight the unique contributions of sign languages to the lives of deaf people. It emphasizes the right to access information and communication in sign languages, promoting inclusivity and equal participation in society.

The World Federation of the Deaf declared “Sign Languages Unite Us!” as the theme of the International Day of Sign Languages for the year 2023.

By recognizing the International Day of Sign Languages, we can foster a more inclusive and accessible society, where deaf individuals can fully participate and express themselves in their preferred language. It is an opportunity for individuals, communities, and organizations to come together in support of linguistic diversity and the empowerment of the deaf community.

Let us join hands together to celebrate and cherish sign languages; a symphony of gestures and expressions, which strengthens human connection through the enhancement of communication and understanding!

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