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Sign languages

ECML Resources


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Sign languages and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Descriptors and approaches to assessment

This resource establishes European standards for sign languages for professional purposes in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and provides an overview of assessment descriptors and approaches.

Available in English and in sign language

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Parents and teachers: working together for plurilingual and intercultural education

The aim of this website is to disseminate knowledge on the benefits of involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education. Working with parents as partners facilitates not only language acquisition, but also the development of positive attitudes towards otherness, attitudes which are necessary for the harmonious development of individuals and society.

Available in English and French

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Language skills for successful subject learning. CEFR-linked descriptors for mathematics and history/civics (Language Descriptors)
These resources highlight challenges for young learners in subject classes where the language of instruction is not their first language. The focus is on minimum language standards in history/civics and mathematics for learners aged 12/13 and 15/16. The language descriptors are linked to CEFR levels A2, B1 and B2 and available in six languages.

Available in English and French

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Facts on sign languages - European Day of Languages

Read some interesting facts about sign language.

Available in 28 languages.

Go to the facts page

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Sign language game - European Day of Languages

Do you know the European country names in international sign language?

Available in English and French.

Try the game!

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Council of Europe policy documents

  • Recommendation 1598 (2003) on the protection of Sign languages in the member states of the Council of Europe
  • Other Council of Europe Resources

    
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    The status of sign languages in Europe

    There are an estimated one million deaf people in the member states of the Council of Europe. The present report, based on information provided by member states' governments and by NGOs, gives an overview of the recognition of sign languages in twenty-six European states. It also summarises policies and programmes which have been developed by member states to ensure sign language users access to their political, social and cultural rights.

    Available in English.

    Download the publication

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    Report on the protection and promotion of sign languages

    This paper describes the needs of sign language users in Europe and offers practical and concrete recommendations which aim to grant this linguistic minority full access to and participation in society based on equal rights.

    Available in English and French.

    Download the publication

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    Council of Europe Disability Action Plan: Sign language

    The Council of Europe adopted in 2006 a recommendation on an Action plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society. The action plan is the result of a political commitment undertaken by several European countries in 2003, European Year of People with Disabilities. Since the beginning of this process, the European Disability forum has actively been involved in the drafting of the plan. The action plan is comprehensive and addresses all areas of life of persons with disabilities.

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    European Commission Resources

    
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    Sign languages

    Sign languages are an important part of Europe’s multilingual diversity. Based on gesture, they are as rich as spoken languages in terms of grammar, structure, syntax, and lexicon. Broadly speaking, each spoken language in the European Union (EU) has a counterpart sign language.

    Available in 24 languages.

    Go to the European Commission page

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    External Resources

    
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    The EuroSign Interpreter Project

    The EuroSign Interpreter project fits into a pan-European process of recognition of national sign languages as minority languages. The aim of this project is to develop resources to teach sign language to sign language interpreting and the finished module will be made available online. It is also a singular module (opposed to an award bearing programme) that will allow other Universities and training centres to incorporate it into their current interpreting programmes.

    Available in English and Polish.

    Go to the project page

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    Dicta-Sign

    Dicta-Sign is a three-year EU-funded research project to make online communication more accessible to deaf users of sign language.

    Available in English, French and German.

    Go to the project page

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    SignSpeak

    SignSpeak is an innovative initiative to improve communication between the signer and hearing communities through vision-based sign-language interpretation technology.

    Available in English, French, German, Dutch and Castilian.

    Go to the project page

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    European Union of the Deaf

    European Union of the Deaf is a not-profit European non-Governmental organisation comprising National Associations of the Deaf (NADs). It is the only supranational organisation representing Deaf people at European level and is one of the few ENGOs representing associations in all 28 EU Member States, including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Aiming to establish and maintain EU level dialogue with the European Union institutions and officials in consultation and co-operation with its member NADs, it also has participatory status with the Council of Europe.

    Available in English.

    Go to the organization's page

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    Medisigns

    Produced as part of the MEDISIGNS project, this research-based documentary explores issues of access to healthcare by the deaf community and the obstacles they encounter from healthcare professionals arising from their lack of understanding of deaf cultures, signed languages and working with sign language interpreters.

    Available in English, Swedish, Greek and Polish.

    Go to the project page

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    Justisigns

    This project represents a ground-breaking initiative focusing on identifying competencies for sign language interpreting in legal settings and providing training for both qualified and qualifying signed language interpreters in this domain. In JUSTISIGNS, legal settings is referred to in a generic context referring to the court room, interactions with solicitors, barristers and lawyers and also interactions of deaf people with the national police services.

    Available in English.

    Go to the project page

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    Digital platform for sign languages - European Language Label award winner 2014

    The digital platform favours the learning of sign language and is coordinated by a consortium of three universities: Blaise Pascal from Clermont-Ferrand, Paris IV Sorbonne, and the University of Strasbourg.

    Available in French.

    Go to the project page

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    Sign Language Legislation in the European Union

    The book “Sign Language Legislation in Europe” is the first comprehensive study of laws relating to sign language. It covers all legislation in the European Union that mentions sign language.

    Available in English.

    Download the publication summary

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    World Federation of the Deaf

    The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organisation representing approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of these 70 million live in developing countries, where authorities are rarely familiar with their needs or desires.

    Available in English.

    Go to the organisation page

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    Sign Languages ‒ Brentari, D. 2010. (ed.)

    This thematic and geographic overview examines more than forty sign languages from around the world. It begins by investigating how sign languages have survived and been transmitted for generations, and then goes on to analyse the common characteristics shared by most sign languages: for example, how the use of the visual system affects grammatical structures. The final section describes the phenomena of language variation and change. Drawing on a wide range of examples, the book explores sign languages both old and young, from British, Italian, Asian and American to Israeli, Al-Sayyid Bedouin, African and Nicaraguan. Written in a clear, readable style, it is the essential reference for students and scholars working in sign language studies and deaf studies.

    Available in English.

    Go to the publication page

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    Sign me English ‒ European Language Label award winner 2013 (Poland)

    Sign Me English - the first website in Poland for hearing-impaired people - is a project that was awarded the European Language Label in Poland in 2013. It serves as an educational tool for teaching English and the culture of English-speaking countries.

    Available in Polish.

    Go to the project page

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    Websourd Media

    Websourd-media is the first news website in sign language.

    Available in French.

    Go to the project page

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