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Finnish Sign language

Finnish Sign Language


Finnish Sign Language is the sign language most commonly used in Finland. There are 5000 (estimate) Finnish Deaf who have Finnish Sign Language as a mother tongue. Linguistically Finnish Sign Language is closest to Swedish Sign Language, from which it began to separate as an independent language in the middle of 19th century.

Finnish legislation recognized Finnish Sign Language as one of Finland's domestic languages in 1995 when it was included in the renewed constitution. Finland then became the third country in the world to recognize sign language as a natural language and the right to use it as a mother tongue.

Courses in "sign language" have been taught in Finland since the 1960s. At that time, instruction taught signs but followed Finnish word order (see Manually Coded Language). Later, as research on sign languages in general and Finnish Sign Language in particular determined that sign languages tend to have a very different grammar to spoken languages, the teaching of Finnish Sign Language and "Signed Finnish" have diverged.