International Day of Sign Languages - Want to learn a new language? Sign language is just the perfect pick!

International Day of Sign Languages 2024 – September 23, 2024

The International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated on September 23 by the United Nations. The International Day of Sign Languages is commemorated on this day since the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was founded on this day in 1951, as a result of efforts by the WFD in 2017.Did you know there are around 72 million deaf individuals in the world? The World Federation of the Deaf provided this data. Over 300 distinct sign languages are used by these people together. Many people are unaware that sign languages are natural languages in their own right.They should be accorded just as much credit and significance as spoken language, despite their structural differences. In addition, there is an international sign language. Deaf individuals utilize this when mingling, traveling, and attending international meetings.

History of International Day of Sign Languages

Sign languages are visual languages that transmit messages. It is unknown how many of these languages exist on the globe. In general, each country has its own sign language. Some countries, in fact, have more than one. You might be interested in learning more about sign languages’ history. These languages have been used by deaf people throughout history. In reality, Plato’s Cratylus, published in the 15th century BC, has one of the oldest recorded accounts of sign language.Socrates says the following in this context: “If we didn’t have a voice or a tongue and wanted to communicate with one another, wouldn’t we try to make signals by moving our hands, heads, and the rest of our bodies, much like stupid people do now?”Not much was known about historical sign languages until the 19th century. The data was restricted to fingerspelling systems, often known as manual alphabets. These were created to translate words from a spoken language to a sign language. Pedro Ponce de Leon is considered to have invented the first manual alphabet.This is one of the fewer recent days that is observed throughout the world, with the inaugural International Day of Sign Languages occurring on September 23, 2018. The date was chosen since it marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Federation of the Deaf in 1951. Every year the day has a new theme. In 2018, for example, the subject was “With Sign Language, Everyone Is Included.”The topic for 2019 was “Sign Language Rights for All!” It is good to learn about the topic each year, since it can help you learn about alternative methods to mark the day. For example, in 2019, knowing about the many rights of individuals who use sign language would have been an excellent approach to broaden your knowledge and raise awareness. In fact, nothing prevents you from doing so right now!

International Day of Sign Languages timeline

500 B.C.
First Written Records

Plato's Cratylus has one of the oldest recorded accounts of sign language.

60 A.D.
First Use

Sign language is used for the first time; according to the first chapter of Luke's Gospel, the angel Gabriel rendered Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, speechless due to his disbelief.

685 A.D.
First Class

When John of Beverley, Bishop of York, teaches a deaf individual to talk in sign language, it is considered a miracle, and he was subsequently canonized.

First Deaf School

Before l'Abbé Charles Michel de l'Épée founded his deaf school in Paris, with his teachings based on his observations of deaf individuals communicating with their hands in Parisian streets.

International Day of Sign Languages FAQs

How many types of sign languages are there?

Around the world, there are over 300 different sign languages in use. They differ from one country to the next. Even in nations where the same language is spoken, regional accents in sign language can cause slight differences in people’s use and interpretation of signs.

What is the most common sign language?

Pidgin Signed English (PSE) or Signed English is the most widely used sign language among deaf people in the United States. The vocabulary is derived from American Sign Language (ASL), although it is presented in English word order.

Can you text in sign language?

With the availability of new mobile keyboard apps, American Sign Language speakers no longer have to worry about their messages being lost in translation. Users can use these keyboards to send text messages and emails that include special American Sign Language (ASL) emoji.

How To Observe International Day of Sign Languages

  1. Learn a sign language

    Learning sign language is one of the greatest ways to commemorate this day! There are several excellent resources available online to assist you with this. Learning to welcome someone in sign language may make a huge impact. Consider how fantastic you might make someone feel by simply going out of your way to learn their language and greeting them in a way that they can comprehend.

  2. Join in creating awareness

    Raising awareness is another way to commemorate International Day of Sign Languages! Many individuals are unaware of the many sign languages. They are also unaware of the number of people who rely on sign languages throughout the world. On this day, take it upon yourself to educate others.

  3. Host a fundraising event

    There are several ways to get involved, ranging from bake sales to sponsored races. Events are an excellent way to raise funds while also spreading the word about sign languages. You should also make use of social media to generate interest in the event you're planning.

5 Awesome Facts About Sign Languages That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Fourth most used language in the U.K.

    Over 125,000 adults in the United Kingdom use British Sign Language, and many more know how to communicate with it — British Sign Language is the primary language of 15,000 individuals in England and Wales.

  2. Different countries have their own versions

    Despite the fact that both the United Kingdom and the United States speak English, their sign languages are extremely different — regional differences in sign language can also be discovered, similar to how accents and dialects are represented in speech.

  3. It uses more than just hand gestures

    British Sign Language, in addition to ‘signs,’ uses facial expressions, gestures, and body language to communicate — sign language has its own grammatical system, which has distinct sentence patterns than spoken English.

  4. Deaf people have ‘name signs’

    Many people who communicate using sign language use a single sign to indicate their name rather than signing out the separate letters — this 'name sign' is personal to the individual and is similar to a nickname.

  5. It isn’t as difficult to learn as it looks

    Sign language appears to be a difficult means of communication, but there is a reason why it is used by so many people all over the world: learning it is very simple if you have the proper teacher and are taught in the correct manner.

Why We Love Sign Languages

  1. Important for deaf people

    Of course, we can't overlook the most obvious reason why sign languages are fantastic. Many deaf and hard-of-hearing people rely heavily on sign languages as a means of communication. Sign languages are the native languages of deaf people, and they provide full communication access. Although sign languages are predominantly used by the deaf, they are also utilized by others who can hear but cannot speak.

  2. More expressive

    Sign languages include the movement of a person's arms, body, and facial expressions as well as the movement of their hands. In sign languages, facial expressions can convey both emotion and grammatical information. For example, raising and lowering one's brows can transform the syntax of a sentence from a statement to an inquiry.

  3. Listening with your eyes

    People who are fluent in sign language are frequently considerably better listeners. When utilizing sign language, one must maintain consistent eye contact with the person communicating. Unlike spoken language, sign languages do not allow a person to turn aside from the person speaking while still listening. This can be a very advantageous habit to develop for both spoken language and sign language. Maintaining eye contact when speaking demonstrates that a person is really interested in what the other person is saying.

International Day of Sign Languages dates

Year Date Day
2023 September 23 Saturday
2024 September 23 Monday
2025 September 23 Tuesday
2026 September 23 Wednesday
2027 September 23 Thursday