The Bible Society of India joins the deaf community around the world in celebrating the International Sign Language Day representing more than 70 million people on October 4th, 2021.
The theme for this year is “We Sign for Human Rights.” It is a celebration and voicing with collective efforts of the deaf communities. Civil society agencies and organizations, Churches and governments to recognize the sign languages as the heart language of the deaf and to promote the sign languages.
The deaf children from Deaf Biblical Ministry, Dimapur, Nagaland brought greetings, offered a special song and read the Bible portion from St. Mark 7:31-37 in sign language.
Rev. Dr. Along Jamir, Associate Director, BSI Translations gave reflection on this special day.
What is Sign Language?
Sign language is not just a tool for communication. It is a natural language and it has its own components such as shapes, facial expression, location, movement and orientation. Language always comes from the heart, to express feelings, imagination and ideas.
They hear with their eyes!
They speak with their hands!
Sign languages exhibit the same linguistic universals and written/spoken languages. The phonemes, morphemes, and syntax can be analysed in sign languages, as genre, function, sequence, narration and meta narration too.
It is their identity, consciously assumed it is life! Each deaf community in every country of the world speak a different sign language.
Deaf Culture and Sign Language
Their identity as deaf, deafness, deafhood is what defines their culture, their culture is a way of feeling and seeing the World from a minority culture and language that is oppressed by the dominant language and culture of the hearing. They are people lost in the midst of a world of hearing, such identities that deserve to be taken into account by the hearing community, not through pity but giving due respect and upholding their values, cultures and language.
Just deaf (Never deaf and Dumb)
Sign Language is not universal
They have proper grammar
Intercessory prayer was offered for the deaf community as this is the largest unreached people group to acquire the Bible in their language. Please join us in praying for the deaf community in our country and continue to journey with us, as Bible Societies across the continents take new initiatives to bring God’s Word in sign languages.