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International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL)

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The International Day of Sign Languages is marked to protect, promote, and support the cultural diversity and linguistic identity of the deaf and other users of sign languages.

Let's learn more about why this day is celebrated and take a step ahead by learning the 12 most used signs that are illustrated below!

International Day of Sign Languages
International Day of Sign Languages!

They say, when the word fails, music speaks. But when there are neither proper words to speak nor the music to communicate, then the gestures of a sign language works wonders.

It is a beautiful medium of expressing the emotions and feelings.

The World Sign Language Day fuels up the realization of the importance of the sign languages in our lives, regardless we can speak or not.




Generally, communicating without speaking is considered as an art (Think of dancing, painting, etc).

Such an art is revered along with its performer; and such a performer is known as an artist. People give such talents a special place in their hearts. Alike those, people who depend on the sign languages are not less than the artists and indeed they are more expressive and pro in this talent and specialty.

Well, some people also use signs and gestures to show their swag. The purpose or need is whatsoever; the sign languages belong to us all.

Such an understanding enhances the significance of celebrating the International Day of Sign Languages. Let's know more about this day with an aim of joining hands with sign languages more closely.

International Day of Sign Languages: Quick Glance
Also Known As
Generating awareness and taking actions for the dveelopment of the sign languages
Event Type
Awareness drives, campaigns, training sessions, etc
23 September
Event in Various Years
23 September 2020, 23 September 2021
Other Correlated Events
International Week of the Deaf, International Day of the Deaf

Date and Time of Event Observance

The International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated along with the International Week of the deaf worldwide 23rd of September.

History of International Day of Sign Languages in India

The choice of the date of observing the International Day of Sign Languages comes from the day of establishment of the World Federation of the Deaf.

In 1951, the foundation of the World Federation of the Deaf was also put on 23 September.

In September 1958, the international week of the deaf got established and later emerged as a global movement.

In 2018 the UN General Assembly took great action to make people realize the importance of Sign Languages. It proclaimed and declared that the International Day of Sign Languages will be observed annually every September 23.

On 19 December 2019, the proposal for the International Day of Sign Languages came from the steamed organization of the World Federation of the deaf. The celebration of the day has been happening since 2018 along with the International Week of the deaf as its important part.

International Day of Sign Languages Celebration

The Theme of the World Sign Languages Day

The World Federation of the Deaf issues different themes on this day every year and raises the issues concerning the community of the deaf and sign language users.

The themes of the IDSL or International Day of Sign Languages involve supporting appeals, awareness drives, challenges, etc.

In 2020, the World Federation of the Deaf issued the Global Leaders Challenge, aiming the use of sign languages by the global, national, and local leaders to promote it.

The leaders, WDF, National Association of Deaf people, deaf-led organizations, and other communities of sign language users of each country come together in partnership. They collectively participate to give their inputs of contribution.

Take a quick glance on the list of the World Sign Languages Day themes:

  • The theme of 2020: Global Leaders Challenge
  • The theme of 2019: Sign Language Rights for All!
  • The theme of 2018: Everyone is Included with Sign Language

Promotion of the causes and issues

To recognize support and promote the use of sign languages, the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities plays a key role. It presents The Sign Languages with equal status, respect, and recognition to the other spoken languages. For promoting and supporting the linguistic identity it takes actions such as obligating the state parties to provide sign language leanings.

Why is International Day of Sign Languages Celebrated?

On account of this day, the performed awareness-raising actions ensure that the human rights of deaf people are fully realized.

The Objective and Goal

The resolution and the motive behind the establishment of this day acknowledge many sign language-related issues and services that involve:

  1. Early access to sign language
  2. Availability of quality education in sign language
  3. Services in sign language

The above issues are considered as vital and critical to the following aspects:

  1. Optimum growth and development of each and every deaf individual
  2. Aimed and agreed goals of the development
  3. Significance of preserving the sign languages.
  4. Importance of protecting cultural and linguistic diversity.
  5. Emphasizing the principles of working with deaf communities. Nothing about us without us is such a tagline that talks about the issues and concerns of the deaf people which are spoken without speaking.

Significance of the International Day of Sign Languages

  1. This day is considered as an opportunity to make the community leaders and the societies aware of the importance of the sign languages.
  2. It ensures its significant place, equal status, and recognition.
  3. It is an important day to take major actions or initiations for the development of Sign Languages as it directly embarks a great impact on the development of the deaf community.
  4. During the pandemic of 2020, the significance of observing such a day shapes in a distinguished direction as this is a time when they can contribute to the society by marking their participation, reaching to their full potential.

Interesting Facts

  1. Sign Languages can be considered as natural languages. However, they are pretty different from the spoken languages in structure. It is not so complex and quite a simple language or medium of expression in comparison to other natural sign languages.
  2. Alike nationally and internationally spoken languages there is a language that is internationally recognized as the international sign language and is used by deaf people and other users formal and informally in meetings and while socializing or travelling.

Statistics about Event/Man/People from past years/Future Expectations

  1. As per the organisation, there are about 72 million deaf people around the world.
  2. More than 80% of the deaf people's population lives in developing countries.
  3. There are more than 300 types of different sign languages which are used collectively by the deaf people and other users.
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