National Sign Language
Slovenski znakovni jezik, SZK
In English: Slovene Sign Language, Slovenian Sign Language
Language status: 5 (Developing).
Recognized language (2006, Law 96, Use of Slovene Sign Language, Section 1).
Ljubljana, 27 May 2021: Slovenia granted Slovene Sign Language constitutional recognition.
The right to use and development of the Slovenian sign language was enshrined in the Constitution on Thursday as MPs endorsed the step unanimously.
The amendment to the Constitution ensures a free use and development of the Slovenian sign language as well as the Hungarian and Italian sign languages in areas with official language minority communities.
This decision has made Slovenia the fifth country in the EU to have enshrined the right to sign language in the Constitution. Austria, Finland, Hungary and Portugal had already done this.
"Sign Language Legislation in the European Union", Wheatley, M., A. Pabsch., Edition II. Brussels, EUD, 2012:
"The Law on the Use of Slovenian Sign Language (...) states in its article 2:
'Sign language is the language of deaf people and the natural means of communication of deaf people.'
The law also establishes a Council of Slovenian Sign Language, which promotes Slovenian Sign Language and trains interpreters, among other things (Article 24)."
"Act on the use of Slovene Sign (ZUSZJ):
This Act lays down the right of deaf persons to use Slovene sign language (hereinafter: sign language) and to have access to information using techniques adapted to their needs and the scope and manner of exercising the right to a sign language interpreter in connection with the equal inclusion of deaf people in the living and work environment and in all forms of social life, with the same rights, conditions and opportunities as persons with no hearing deficit.
Deaf persons shall exercise their rights under this Act unless otherwise provided by another act.
Provisions of this Act applying to natural persons shall apply equally to men and women.
Sign language shall mean the language which deaf persons use for communication and/or is a natural means of communication for deaf persons.
Sign language shall mean a visual sign language system of certain positioning, direction and movement of the hands and fingers and facial gestures.
According to this Act, a deaf person shall be a person who is totally without hearing or a person who, due to difficulties in communication, uses sign language as his/her natural language.
Council for Slovene Sign Language
For the purpose of expert assistance in adopting decisions and drafting regulations, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia shall establish a Council for Slovene Sign Language, tasked with the following:
- development of Slovene sign language;
- recognition and equality of sign language;
- monitoring the education, training and work of Slovene sign language interpreters and the dynamics of certificate acquisition;
- proposing amendments to the standards for professional knowledge and skills of sign language interpreters;
- cooperating with relevant bodies in the fields of education and training, information, healthcare and health insurance, social security, judiciary, pension and disability insurance, employment, sports and culture, as well as other bodies;
proposing the harmonisation of issues important for implementation of this Act to the responsible authorities; keeping informed on addressing any objections in connection with the quality of interpretation services;
considering other issues and provide assistance in carrying out tasks in connection with the use of sign language."
"The status of sign languages in Europe", Nina Timmermans, ISBN 92-871-5720-0 © Council of Europe, April 2005:
"The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia regulates human rights and fundamental freedoms and ensures equality before the law, thus, together with the Declaration of the Rights of Disabled Persons, providing the fundamental legal basis for the preparation of the Sign Language Act.
The aforementioned Act gives deaf citizens the right to use their language, i.e. the Slovenian Sign Language, and the right to be informed by means of techniques adapted to them."
"The Act stipulates that a professional Council for the Slovenian Sign Language shall be established. Its primary task will be to form a global linguistic policy for the Slovenian Sign Language, with the active involvement of the deaf public."
Number of Deaf Sign Language Users
863 (EUD website, December 2016); 2.500 (Timmermans, 2005)
National Sign Language (Research) Centres
Work in progress...