Sign language

Information on how both the British sign language (BSL) and the Irish sign language (ISL) were embraced and their history.

Embracing sign language

Both British Sign Language (BSL) and Irish Sign Language (ISL) were embraced within the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and in March 2004 the Secretary of State announced the formal recognition of BSL and ISL as languages in their own right following similar recognition of BSL in Great Britain.

The languages have their own grammar and syntax systems rather than being visual reflections of other languages. BSL is the first or preferred language of communication of approximately 3,500 members of the Deaf population of Northern Ireland while approximately 1,500 use ISL.

Partnership group

The Sign Language Partnership Group (SLPG), led by the Department, was established as a forum to bring together representatives of Northern Ireland Departments and the Deaf community to improve access to public services for BSL and ISL users by supporting and developing BSL and ISL communities in a linguistic context to promote respect and understanding of BSL/ISL.

The SLPG has been funding initiatives to support the issue of access to public services by BSL and ISL users and to promote sign language to families with deaf children guided by its agreed priorities of:

  • Providing personal and social development programmes to redress the educational academic under achievement for deaf people in order to reach their full potential and gain better employment prospects
  • Building capacity to enable all services to become accessible to allow the sign language user to be fully included
  • Building capacity to have sign language recognised officially as a “linguistic and cultural minority “ language in order to develop policy to ensure continued provision of funding and services
  • Building capacity to raise the profile of sign language as a “linguistic and cultural minority” language and a language of “need” for deaf people in order to raise awareness and understanding within the NI community.

Irish translation

Grúpa Páirtióchta

Bunaíodh Grúpa Páirtíochta Teanga Chomharthaíochta, faoi stiúir na Roinne, mar fhóram chun ionadaithe Ranna Thuaisceart Éireann agus pobal na mBodhar a thabhairt le chéile chun rochtain do sheirbhísí poiblí le haghaidh úsáideóirí TCB agus TCE a fheabhsú, trí thacaíocht a thabhairt do phobail TCB agus TCE agus iad a fhorbairt i gcomthéacs teanga chun meas agus tuiscint an TCB/TCE a chur chun cinn.

Mhaoinigh an GPTC tionscnaimh a thugann tacaíocht do cheist rochtana ar sheirbhísí poiblí ag úsáideoirí TCB agus TCE agus chun teanga chomhartha a chothú do theaglaigh a bhfuil páistí bodhra acu, faoi stiúir na rudaí seo a leanas:

  • Cláir um fhorbhairt shóisialta agus phearsanta a sholáthar, le haghaidh cúiteamh a dhéanamh ar thearghnóthachtáil oideachais acadúil ag daoine bodhra, ionas gur féidir leo barr a gcumais a bhaint amach agus ionchais fhostaíochta níos fearr a fháil
  • Cumas a neartú le go mbeifear in ann rochtain a fháil ar sheirbhísí uilig le go n-áireofar úsáideoirí teanga chomharthaíochta
  • Cumas a neartú le go n-athneofar teanga chomharthaíochta go hoifigiúil mar “mionteanga maidir le teanga agus cultúr” le go bhforbrófar polasaí a chinnteoidh soláthar leantach maoinithe agus seirbhisí
  • Cumas a neartú le próifíl teanga comharthaíochta a ardú mar “mionteanga maidir le teanga agus cultúr” agus mar theanga riachtanach do dhaoine bodhra, le go gcuirfear leis an eolas agus an tuiscint laistigh de phobal Thuisceart Éireann.
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