News Article

Celebrating language development in the world’s Deaf communities

(September 2012) The World Federation of the Deaf has designated 23-29 September as International Week of the Deaf, preceding the International Day of the Deaf on 30 September. SIL’s involvement with Deaf populations is part of its long-standing advocacy for ethnolinguistic communities throughout the world.

SIL’s newly restructured Global Sign Languages Team (GSLT) reflects the value SIL places on research and language development for signed languages. Because Deafness and sign languages unite people from many different countries with a commonality deeper than geographic divisions, engaging with Deaf communities requires a different organizational structure than the regionally-based initiatives that work for spoken language communities. The GSLT is building partnerships with a number of Deaf organizations to serve Deaf communities around the world. Recent events of interest include:

The 16th edition of the Ethnologue (released in 2009) lists 130 signed languages, but the number of identified sign languages continues to climb with ongoing sociolinguistic survey of Deaf communities around the world.

Related links of interest