International Day of Sign Languages (2022)
Sign languages unite us!
Sign languages are used by tens of millions of individuals around the world. According to Ethnologue, there are 157 living sign languages with ISO-639-3 codes, representing around 24 million first language speakers (‘L1’). Sign languages range in size from very small languages (e.g., Kufr Qassem Sign Language with approximately 50 users) to very large languages (e.g., Indian Sign Language with 6+ million users).
Top 10 largest Sign Languages
In 2017, the UN General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/72/16 to recognise the 23rd of September as the International Day of Sign Languages. Since then, the event has celebrated a different annual theme to promote ‘hearing and signing awareness’ as part of the International Week of the Deaf (Wikipedia). As this year’s theme for International Day of Sign Languages is ~ “Sign languages unite us!” ~ let’s explore a global perspective of sign languages.
The number of living Sign Languages across the world
The distribution of living sign languages varies considerably in different countries (between 0-4 languages), revealing a unique perspective on hearing and signing across the globe (Derivation). From this infographic, it’s clear to see sign languages are an integral part of a vibrant and diverse global linguistic landscape. We wish a happy and healthy International Day of Sign Languages to the millions of people using sign languages worldwide!