Facts about Sign Language

British Sign Language and Irish Sign Language were officially recognised as minority languages in NI in March 2004. BSL and ISL are a visual form of communicating using hands, facial expressions and body language. It is the first or preferred language of some deaf people in the UK and Ireland. There are at least 4,000 deaf adults and children in NI who use BSL and ISL. According to Action on Hearing Loss there are more than 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss, or one in sixth of the population. 24,000 people across the UK use sign language as their main language although this is likely to be an underestimate.