British Sign Language 11 year anniversary today

British Sign Language was only recognised as an official language in its own right in this country, 11 years ago: 18 March 2003. May it continue to be welcomed and used in all walks of life.

British Sign Language is a vibrant language in its own right with its own grammar, vocabulary, structure and syntax.. British Sign Language is not simply about replacing a spoken word with a hand gesture. Like other languages (e.g. French and English), there cannot be an exact word for word translation.

Sign language has been around for a long time this changed suddenly in 1889. Back in the 18 century Thomas Braidwood brought sign language into the educational system in the United Kingdom. Sign Language remained in schools for a good fifty years until the fateful Second International Congress of Education of the Deaf was held in Milan. There the 1889 Royal Commission of the Blind and Deaf & Dumb was issued. This commission decreed the end of sign language in schools in preference to the Oral Method, a method that punished those who dare use sign language and promoted the difficult, often impossible task, of teaching children who were born deaf, had never heard, to speak. One of the consequences was that more than 70% of UK Deaf children left school with a reading age of 7 and with few qualifications and social skills.

The British Deaf and Dumb Association (BDDA) was formed in 1890 by Francis Maginn to fight the Oral Method and to protect the rights of the Deaf people. In 1971, the "Dumb" was dropped to create the British Deaf Association which continues to exist today. What a long time it has taken in this country for British Sign Language to once again accepted and recognized: from 1890 to 2003!

Apparently, with the combination of Deaf and hearing people who use BSL, this language is now more common than Welsh and Gaelic!

Happy 11 years anniversary BSL!!!







Celebrate British Sign Language week 2014, 16th – 23rd March

Why a BSL week?

The British Deaf Association has deemed 16th – 23rd March 2014 as Sign Language Week. In previous years they had a one day event to mark the recongition of British Sign Language as an official language — now 11 years ago — on 18th March 2003. To find out more about what's happening that week, check out the BDA listing

Learn 11 BSL signs

Signature, a national charity and the UK’s leading awarding body in deaf communication qualifications, is marking the 11th anniversary of British Sign Lanuage day by calling for school teachers to take fifteen minutes out of their day to teach students 11 basic BSL signs. The charity has created a short video demonstrating 11 key words and phrases and has freely distributed it to schools across the UK. You can visit Signature’s website to stream Signature’s 11 BSL phrases


Misleading Media: Mark Duggan photo cropped

Mark Duggan, uncropped here to show him holding a memorial plaque for his stillborn childShocking or just another manipulative and misleading act of some media?

It now comes to light that a photo of Mark Duggan was cropped to create a 'ganster' image of this father of six. The photo was taken when he was grieving. As the full image shows, he was at the grave site of his daughter who was still born.

Mark Duggan is the 29-year-old Tottenham (London, England) resident, who was shot and killed by police in Tottenham, North London, England, on 4 August 2011. The inquest jury found that Duggan's killing was "lawful". Duggan was unarmed when he was shot dead by police.

Deeply personal moments of grief are frequently shown in newspapers, magazines and on television. Now, grief has been hidden and twisted to proliferate a particular view of a family man: that he was a gangster too.

How sad is that?