Denmark’s Deaf people are one step closer to official recognition of Danish Sign Language after legislation was introduced into parliament last week.
The legislation will see Danish Sign Language incorporated into the Danish Language Council, a body that researches and protects the language heritage of the nation’s languages. Once sign language is recognised by the council, it is regarded as an official national language, giving it equal status to spoken language. The process, which is being initiated by the Danish opposition party, should be complete by 2014.
The EUD (European Union of the Deaf) which represents national deafness organisations in all the EU member states, said in a statement:
“EUD warmly congratulates DDL (Danish Deaf Association) on this success and wishes them all the best in achieving their aim of protecting and recognising Danish Sign Language in the same way as the Danish spoken language. EUD also encourages other EU countries that have not yet officially recognised their sign language to continue trying to find ways to include sign language in their legislation, possibly not only in the traditional language laws.”
British Sign language was recognised in 2003 by some parts of the UK Government but no law exists to explicitly protect BSL or the rights of Deaf people to use it. Recently, the Liberal Democrats passed a motion at their annual party conference calling for official recognition of BSL.
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