What is Irish Sign Language and who uses it?
What is Irish Sign Language?
Linguistics are beyond doubt that Irish Sign Language (ISL) are languages in their own right and bear no relation to spoken/written languages e.g. English or Irish. ISL has its own complex linguistic structures, rules and features. It was gradually developed through centuries, chiefly through the educational system where Deaf people were brought together. ISL is widely regarded by its users as their natural or first language because it is based on visual interaction and fully accessible. This is not regarded as a compensation tool for their deafness. Though ISL do not have definite official status, it is daily used by thousands of Deaf and hearing people.
Who uses Irish Sign Language?
There are approximately 5,000 Deaf people in Ireland who use ISL. However, approximately 40,000 hearing people use ISL, ranging from a regular to occasional usage in Ireland.
Interpreters are employed to translate between two parties or more where there are two or more languages used. In this case, interpreters relay languages between people in Irish Sign Language (ISL) and English. Most Irish Sign Language users are Deaf themselves. The interpreters must be fluent in English and in ISL, which combines signing, finger spelling, facial expression and specific body language. Most interpreters either interpret, aiding communication between English and ISL, or transliterate. Other skills include tactile signing, which is interpreting for people who are blind as well as deaf by making manual signs into their hands and using sign register – a form of matching the information to the literacy level of users.
An ISL teacher specialises in the teaching of ISL to those who are interested in learning ISL. The teacher can teach at levels ranging from pre-school to adult education. The teacher works from an organised curriculum to ensure structured learning of ISL by those interested in the language. This Centre aims to train ISL teachers to reach the highest quality standard of teaching.