Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New Zealand recognizes NZSL

Another government officially recognizes their native sign language today. This one is a bit special because the sign language truly incorporates native elements, whereas other sign languages (like our ASL) were imports:
Christchurch City Council information technology staff and disability advisor Karen Rickerby have assisted the society in supplying and setting up equipment to process and show internet webcast coverage and interpretation of the NZSL Bill’s final stage before it goes to the Governor General to be signed into law.

According to the Office for Disability Issues, about 28,000 New Zealanders use NZSL and there are at least 210,000 deaf or hearing impaired people in the country. Sign languages are not universal and NZSL is unique to New Zealand. Among other things, it includes signs that express concepts from Maori culture.

Work has been under way for about 20 years to have the language officially recognised.

20 years is a long time for activism. Anyone out there know NZSL?

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