New Zealanders will be celebrating New Zealand Sign Language this week to help raise awareness of the New Zealand Deaf Community.
Did you know that New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is one of our official languages and is unique to New Zealand. It includes signs for Maori terminology and concepts which you will not find in the sign language of other countries. There are hundreds of sign languages used around the world and they will all be different. There can even be a difference in sign language within New Zealand. For instance people in Auckland may sign slightly differently to people in Wellington.
One in six New Zealanders have some form of hearing loss and there are about 24,000 New Zealanders who use NZSL everyday.
You might like to check out the Deaf Aotearoa website where they have lots of information about NZSL. You can learn how to finger spell the alphabet or you might like to attend a free taster class in your area.
The library also has some books and DVD’s on learning NZSL or you might like to read about kids who have a hearing loss and what life is like for them.