According to the World Federation of Deaf, about 72 million deaf people are worldwide.They together use over 300 distinct sign languages.More than 80% live in developed countries.
The World Sign Languages Day is a unique occasion which takes place on 23 September to help and preserve both deaf people and other sign language users’ linguistic identities and cultural diversity.There are over 135 sign languages worldwide, including American Sign Language ( ASL), British Sign Language (BSL) and Australian Sign Language (Auslan). Many nations sharing a spoken language don’t use the same sign language.
The UN General Assembly declared 23 September as the World Sign Languages Day to increase awareness of the value of sign language in truly understanding the human rights of deaf people.
23 September ‘s preference commemorates the founding of the WFD (World Federation of the Deaf) in 1951. This day marks the birth of an activist group whose primary aim is to protect sign languages and deaf traditions as prerequisites for understanding the human rights of deaf people.
In 2020, the World Federation of Deaf released a Global Leaders Challenge. This competition seeks to encourage the use of sign languages by state, national and global leaders in collaboration with national deaf people groups in each country and other deaf-led organisations.
Sign languages are all natural languages, structurally different from spoken languages. There’s also an universal sign language that deaf people use in universal gatherings and informally while travelling and socialising. It is considered a pidgin type of sign language, not as formal as natural sign languages, with a limited lexicon.
World Sign Languages Day was first held as part of Deaf ‘s Worldwide Week in 2018.
The Deaf ‘s International Week was first held in September 1958, and has since grown into a worldwide campaign of deaf solidarity and organised campaigning to increase awareness of the problems facing deaf people in their daily lives.
How many sign languages still exist worldwide is unknown. Every nation has its own sign language, and some have more than one. Ethnologue ‘s 2013 edition lists 137 sign languages. Some sign languages have some sort of legal recognition, while others have no standing.
Wherever deaf people societies exist, sign languages have grown as handy means of communication, becoming the center of local deaf cultures. While signing is mainly used by the deaf ,it is often used by hearing people, such as those unable to speak verbally, those who have difficulty with spoken language due to impairment.