Icelandic Sign Language Officially Recognised - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Sign Language Officially Recognised

Published May 30, 2011

Yesterday, the Icelandic parliament signed into law a bill that makes Icelandic sign language the official mother language of the country’s hearing impaired.
Icelandic sign language, like sign language in any other country, is a unique language all its own, employing its own grammar, signs, and delivery. Up until yesterday, however, it was not officially recognised as such in Iceland.
Yesterday dozens of people filled the parliamentary gallery as a vote was taken on the bill, Vísir reports. After waiting 20 years for recognition, parliament voted in favour of making Icelandic sign language the official mother language of Iceland’s hearing impaired.
Júlía Guðný Hreinsdóttir, who teaches sign language at The Communication Centre for The Deaf and Hard of Hearing, told reporters, “We stood there and hugged and cried, and most of us now say that we have finally been recognised as human beings by recognising Icelandic sign language. So we’re very proud of ourselves.”

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