In our day-to-day life, we all more or less use some or a significant amount of sign languages may by mistake or intentionally. Different cultures have different sign language and this difference may create problems in understanding the meaning but this problem is avoided with the help of natural language.
There is no universal sign language. Different sign languages are used in different countries or regions. For example, British Sign Language (BSL) is a different language from ASL, and Americans who know ASL may not understand BSL. Some countries adopt features of ASL in their sign languages. In India Indian sign language (ISL) is in use.
For deaf and mute persons sign language is a medium of communication. Sign languages are full-fledged natural languages with their grammar and lexicon. Sign languages are not universal and they are not mutually intelligible to each other, although there are also striking similarities among sign languages.
23 September is celebrated as an ‘International sign language day’ The resolution A/RES/72/161was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, co-sponsored by 97 United Nations Member States and adopted by consensus on 19 December 2017.
The proposal for the Day came from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), a federation of 135 national associations of deaf people, representing approximately 70 million deaf people’s human rights worldwide.
The choice of 23 September commemorates the date that the WFD was established in 1951. This day marks the birth of an advocacy organization, which has as one of its main goals, the preservation of sign languages and deaf culture as pre-requisites to the realization of the human rights of deaf people.
The International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf which will take place between 23 – 30 September.
The International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958 and has since evolved into a global movement of deaf unity and concerted advocacy to raise awareness of the issues deaf people face in their everyday lives.
The 2021 theme for the day as declared by the World Federation of the Deaf, is “We Sign For Human Rights,” to highlight how each of us – deaf and hearing people around the world – can work together hand in hand to promote the recognition of our right to use sign languages in all areas of life.