Deaf history

Sign language history: 21st Century



Jolanta Lapiak developed and launched the section "Sign Language / ASL Dictonary Online" on another website in April 1997. It was later evolved into in early 2000.

Sign Language Program in Schools

2000: The public school board approved the second-language program in mid-June in Alberta, Canada, after lobbying for sign language courses and drawing up a curriculum that public schools could provide American Sign Language. Edmonton high school students studied ASL as a second language, starting in the fall. Stuart Wachowicz, the district's curriculum supervisor, said that the second-language program was the first of its kind in Canada.

Deaf Way II, 2002

Gallaudet University hosted Deaf Way II again. Deaf Way II attracted about 10,000 people (signers) from all over the world to gather together, celebrating cultures and sign languages, attending workshops, exchanging ideas, exhibiting works of art, screening films and videos, etc.

The Canadian Dictionary of ASL, 2002

After a decade or so of collaborative hard work, The Canadian Dictionary of ASL was finally complete and published in 2000. It is an extremely comprehensive dictionary of American Sign Language and is highly recommended tool for use in ASL class and in general.

British Government, 2003

The British Government recognized British Sign Language (BSL) as a bona-fide language.

Sign Language Recognized in New Zealand

2003: "The government has signalled its intention to recognise New Zealand Sign Language as the third official language of New Zealand. This week Cabinet agreed to the introduction of a NZ Sign Language Bill to Parliament by the end of the year." -- Media Statement, October 24. The census data shows that NZSL is used by 28,000 New Zealanders, and among those there are at least 210,000 deaf people in New Zealand.

Official language in New Zealand, 2006

New Zealand Sign Language became the third official language of New Zealand after English and Te Reo Māori on April 10, 2006.

Winter Deaflympics, 2007

Feburary 1 - 10, 2007. Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

World Congress of the WFD, 2007

World Congress of the WFD held in Madrid, Spain.

$400,000 reward in a lawsuit, 2008

October 9, 2008: "In the largest verdict in the United States against a doctor for failure to provide a sign language interpreter, Irma Gerena, a Deaf patient of a Jersey City rheumatologist was awarded $400,000 by a jury on October 9, 2008." --

European Parliamentarian, 2009

The European Parliamentarian Dr. Adam Kosa from Hungary was the first deaf person elected in European parliamentary elections in June 2009, which marked a historical achievement for the deaf community. Kosa works in the interests of deaf and disabled Europeans. One of his major aims is to make sign language the 24th official language in the EU.

2009 Taipei, Taiwan

21st Deaflympic Summer Games. September 5-15, 2009, Taipei, Taiwan.

Legal suit for "Speech Disorder", November 2009

Kimie Oya, a Deaf woman aged 60s from Nagoya City, Japan, sued a hearing man for the injury from a car accident in 2005. The injury involves her left wrist and finger that affected her inability to manually speak as efficiently as before. On November 25th, 2009, the Nagoya district court judge ordered the man to compensate her about 12.2 million yen for the "communication damage" (disability of communication). The lawyer representing Oya, "the decision that admits the residual disablity of the signing function of the Deaf person as equal to the able-bodied person's speech disorder would be the first in the country." -- Deaf Japan News, (November 25, 2009).

2017: "hearing impaired" deleted

Utah passed Bill HB60 (Rep. Norman Thurston) which modified terminology throughout the Utah Code related to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing (March 2017). This bill changed "hearing impairment" to "deaf or hard of hearing" throughout the Utah Code; and made terms "deaf or hard of hearing" and "hearing loss" consistent throughout the Utah Code.

2019: Canada's national sign languages

In May 2019, the government of Canada recognized ASL, LSQ (Québécois Sign Language), and ISL (Indigenous Sign Language) as the national languages of the Deaf.

Related posts

Related links: Timeline: 2010s.

New to sign language? "Where do I start?" or "How do I start learning sign language?" This ASL Rookie guide lists some selected links to the tutorials for ASL beginners to get started and keep rolling. It may be a useful review for intermediate-level learners and ASL students as well.

Some tutorial pages are a mix of free and premium versions. Access to premium content and links below are available in the PatronPlus subscription. More links/posts will be added from time to time.

Expressing needs and wants

  1. Making commands or requests

Talking about activities

  1. Frequency of time: how often?

Are you able to carry everyday conversations in ASL? Are you a student in the intermediate levels and beyond, who wishes to boost up your signing skills? You've come to the selected tutorial series. (Some premium content are available to PatronPlus membership.)

Stories, poems, performance arts, etc. in sign language.

This documentation project follows a child's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, from newborn to age five in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.