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Icelandic Sign Language: Wikis

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Icelandic Sign Language
Íslenskt Táknmál
Signed in Iceland
Total signers
Language family derived from Danish Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 sgn-ISL
ISO 639-3 icl

The Icelandic sign language (íslenskt táknmál) is the sign language of the deaf community in Iceland. It is based on the Danish Sign Language; until 1910, deaf Icelandic people were sent to school in Denmark, but the languages have diverged since then. It is officially recognized by the state and regulated by a national committee.

Icelandic Sign Language is distinct from spoken Icelandic; in 1999, the Icelandic Ministry of Education stated that, in the Icelandic basic curriculum, Icelandic Sign Language is the first language of deaf people, while spoken Icelandic is a second language. Therefore, deaf Icelanders should learn Icelandic Sign Language as their first language and Icelandic as their second language.

Táknmál is the Icelandic language word meaning "Sign Language". The word originates from the Norwegian Teiknspråk/Tegnspråk. The corresponding word in Swedish is Teckenspråk, and in Danish it is Tegnsprog.

For more information on the recognition of Icelandic Sign Language and the comparison with other countries, see recognition of sign languages.

A lexical comparison of signs from Icelandic Sign Language with their counterparts in Danish Sign Language was undertaken (Aldersson 2006) to try to determine the degree of current lexical similarity. It was found that whilst the two sign languages are certainly related, 37% of signs analysed were completely different in structure and a further 16%, whilst similar, still contrasted in one of the four parameters of hand-configuaration, location, movement or orientation.

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