Ironically, despite the theme of “Sign Languages Unite us,” there are actually many different types of sign language unique to certain countries around the world. For example, there’s American Sign Language (ASL), which is predominantly used in the USA; British Sign Language (BSL), which is predominantly used in the UK; as well as Chinese Sign Language, French Sign Language, Japanese Sign Language, and many more. In fact, there are an estimated 300 different sign languages around the world.
Sign languages also aren’t just used by members of the Deaf community. There are other individuals who might not be deaf but rely on the use of sign language or non-verbal forms of communication. Sign languages are unique from person to person, country to county, and culture to culture.
Read More: Sign languages around the world
No matter the type, sign language is a beautiful and unique visual language that unites deaf people. It also unites deaf people to the hearing world and vice versa. Without it, there would be more significant gaps in communication and accessibility.
For deaf people who prefer to sign, sign language allows them to be heard. It is a way to express, communicate, and socialize. When a deaf person who relies on sign language comes across a hearing person that knows even just a few basic signs, it brightens up their entire day. It’s an instant form of unity! It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle of a hearing world sometimes where not too many people sign. Even learning basic phrases such as “How are you?” or “Nice to meet you,” can bring people together. There are wide ranging resources online to choose from when it comes to learning such basic phrases in sign language!
“For deaf people who prefer to sign, sign language allows them to be heard.”
Read More: How to learn sign language
It’s not just up to deaf people to increase deaf awareness. There are numerous ways to help us:
You don’t have to be fully fluent in sign language in order to connect with us or make a difference! A little effort goes a long way!
Many people may not know that today is International Day of Sign Languages. Share this post to help spread the word!
If you see a Deaf influencer on social media, engage with them, share their content, and like their post! Their goal is often to spread awareness about the deaf community and sign language. This may seem like a small step, but it can have huge results.
The World Federation of the Deaf is inviting everyone, particularly businesses, organizations, and public places to shine a blue light on this day to bring awareness to the power of sign languages.
To create an even stronger sense of unity in light of the theme this year, the World Federation of the Deaf is also asking country and government leaders to sign the phrase, “Sign languages unites us” in their national language.