7 things you might have missed during Sign Language Week!

Posted on March 18, 2017

This year’s Sign Language Week has surpassed all expectations, with a range of articles and videos being released, and an MP signing a question in Parliament.

There’s no doubt that the profile of sign language and the issue of BSL recognition has been enhanced in the last few days – let’s hope it leads to wider Deaf awareness and even steps towards better legislation protecting the rights of sign language users.

If you missed them, below are 7 things you might have missed! (Please do comment and tell us about others we might have missed out!)

1. MP Dawn Butler signed a question in Parliament

Butler sent BSL into the headlines and received plaudits from many Deaf people on her Facebook page for signing a question in Parliament.

On the 14th anniversary of BSL recognition, she asked whether the government will allow time to give BSL legal status like other languages have done in the UK.

An Early Day Motion has been signed by over 20 MPs so far.

Read our story here.

2. Former MP Tom Levitt appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme Today talking about BSL

Levitt, who also signed in Parliament 20 years ago, was interviewed by Nick Robinson, and talked about the difference between recognition and the language having legal status.

You can hear the programme here, and read a transcript courtesy of Lauren Harris on Facebook here.

3. Dr Robert Adam appeared live on BBC News’ Facebook page

Adam, from the BDA and UCL, answered questions live on the BBC News Facebook page about an online petition for sign language to be on the National Curriculum. He was accompanied by a sign language interpreter.

Watch it above, or directly on Facebook here.

4. BBC Producer William Mager appeared on a podcast and wrote an article about deafness and BSL

BBC Producer William Mager appeared on the BBC’s Ouch podcast (listen to it here and read the transcript here) and wrote an article about sign language. In the article, William said:

I’m not a native sign language user. I didn’t grow up signing from an early age and I didn’t have any deaf friends as a kid. I went to a mainstream school where I was the only deaf child in class but I could get by with speaking and lip-reading.

But if a deaf person had met me 20 years ago, they would have been shocked at my inability to communicate with them.

Learning sign language changed all that and brought many benefits to my life.

Read his full article here.

5. The BDA launched a dedicated website for Sign Language Week

On the site, high-profile figures in the Deaf Community such as Paula Garfield (from Deafinitely Theatre) uploaded videos about their careers, along with young people and supporters.

Take a look here.

6. Clark Denmark signed live on BBC Breakfast News

Just this morning, Clark Denmark, who is a hugely respected figure in the Deaf Community, signed live in-vision on BBC Breakfast news.

7. The BBC published a video asking if sign language should be taught in schools

The video featured Deaf children explaining why it would help them if more people learned to sign with them, and the wider benefits of learning to sign too. Don’t miss it!

Watch the video here.

By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor

The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. 

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