Sign Language Legalized as First Language in Iceland Skip to content

Sign Language Legalized as First Language in Iceland

Members of the Icelandic Association of the Deaf celebrated the legislation of Sign Language as their first language on Friday.

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Inside Althingi. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

They crowded the galleries of the parliament when the bill was approved unanimously at Althingi and then celebrated with a party at their headquarters until late in the night, Morgunbladid reports.

Among those celebrating was six-year-old Andri Fannar Ágústsson, who will now be able to use Sign Language as the first language in his education and other preparation for the future.

Icelanders are frontrunners in the development of Sign Language and such a conclusive recognition as the government has now given Sign Language has not been made anywhere else in the world, according to Dadi Hreinsson, managing director of the Icelandic Association of the Deaf.

“I am confident that this will result in better educated people who will become active members of society,” he said.

In the new law which secures the position of Sign Language, Icelandic Sign Language is defined formally as a national language and an official language in Iceland.

Also, Icelandic Braille has been legalized as the first written language of the blind and those with impaired vision.

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