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Irish Sign Language (ISL) is the sign language used by the Deaf community in Ireland. It is the primary means of communication for many Deaf people in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. ISL is a distinct language with its own grammar and vocabulary and is not directly related to either spoken English or the Irish language (Gaeilge).

ISL has a long history in Ireland, and its origins can be traced back to the early 19th century. It developed organically within the Deaf community and has been passed down from generation to generation.

In 2017, ISL was officially recognised as a language by the Irish government, following a campaign by the Irish Deaf Society and other organisations advocating for its recognition and protection. This recognition has had important implications for the rights of the Deaf community in Ireland, as it has led to increased access to education, services, and information in ISL.

ISL plays a crucial role in the lives of the Deaf people in Ireland, enabling them to communicate with each other and participate in various aspects of society, including education, employment, and social interactions. As with any sign language, ISL is a rich and expressive language, and it is an essential part of the cultural identity of the Irish Deaf community.

Irish Sign Language (ISL) is a unique language used by the Deaf community in Ireland. It’s different from other sign languages like American Sign Language (ASL) or British Sign Language (BSL) in several ways:

  1. Signs: ISL has its own signs that are specific to Ireland and aren’t the same as ASL or BSL signs.
  2. Grammar: ISL has its own rules for how sentences are structured, which are different from ASL or BSL.
  3. Fingerspelling: Like other sign languages, ISL uses fingerspelling to spell out words.
  4. Culture: ISL includes signs related to Irish culture, history, and geography, which aren’t found in other sign languages.
  5. Regional Differences: Just as spoken languages have regional accents, ISL has regional variations in signs and words.
  6. Irish Deaf Community: ISL is closely connected to the Irish Deaf community’s history and reflects their culture.

In short, ISL is its own unique language with its own signs, rules, and cultural influence, and it’s important to recognise and respect its different features.

Irish Deaf Society