National Sign Language
Íslenskt Táknmál, ÍTM
In English: Icelandic Sign Language
Language Status: 6b (Threatened). Recognized language (2011, Act. No. 61)
"Sign Language Legislation in the European Union", Wheatley, M., A. Pabsch., Edition II. Brussels, EUD, 2012:
"In May 2011 Icelandic Sign Language was recognised as an official language of Iceland along with Icelandic (Article 1, Act on the Status of the Icelandic Languagee and Icelandic Sign Language (..)). Article 3 describes Icelandic Sign language as the first language 'of those who rely on it for expressing themselves and communicating with others'. It furthers states:
'Anyone who has need of sign language shall have the opportunity to learn and use Icelandic sign language at the onset of language acquisition, or from such time as deafness, hearing impairment of deafblindness is diagnosed.The same right is afforded to the closest family members of such persons.'
In 1990 the Icelandic Communication Centre was set up with the aim to promote equality for Deaf people by providing services in sign language.The Act on Communication Centres (..) was passed to ensure this was achieved. It regulates the activities of the Centre, such as studying and teaching Icelandic Sign Language, along with other services."
Icelandic Sign Language was recognised by law in education in 2004.
"This National Curriculum Guide contains, for the first time, provisions on special Icelandic instruction for students whose mother tongue is not Icelandic. There are also new provisions on special Icelandic instruction for deaf and hearing-impaired pupils and sign-language instruction for the deaf. The objectives for Icelandic instruction of immigrants and the deaf and of sign-language instruction fall under the subject area of language arts (Icelandic) in compulsory school. [...]"
Sign language is of basic importance for the development of language, personality and thinking of deaf children. For the deaf, sign language is the most important source of knowledge and their route to participation in Icelandic culture and the culture of the deaf. Sign language is of great importance for all school work and for the pupils’ life and work.
On May 27, 2011, the Icelandic Parliament unanimously approved a bill which recognises Icelandic Sign Language as an official minority language with constitutional rights and as the first language of the deaf people of Iceland.
Number of Deaf Sign Language Users
250 (EUD website, December 2016)
National Sign Language (Research) Centres
SHH (Samskiptamiðstöð heyrnarlausra og heyrnarskertra)
In English: The Communication Centre for The Deaf and Hard of Hearing