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Vote – clear yes: Sign language is officially recognized in Ticino


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A resounding yes: Sign language is officially recognized in Ticino

In Ticino, the electorate decided with a large majority: Sign language will be legally recognised. The Deaf Association is pleased.

The Swiss Federation of the Deaf continues to strive for legal recognition of sign languages. (icon picture)

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It is a clear verdict: 86.2 percent of the Ticino voters said yes to a new article in the canton’s constitution. It officially recognizes sign language. The Swiss Federation of the Deaf writes of a “happy day” in a statement on Sunday. Her language is now legally recognized in Ticino. This is an important step, especially with regard to equal opportunities.

This makes Ticino the third canton after Geneva and Zurich to choose this path. Efforts are also being made at the federal level. A corresponding proposal was tabled in the National Council in the summer. The Federal Council also recently commented on the subject. The government continues to find legal recognition “not mandatory”. Instead, the existing approaches could be further developed and made more visible in the sense of an “actual recognition” of the language and culture of the deaf. A suitable framework for this is the Federal Council’s disability policy.

Around 10,000 people live in Switzerland who have been deaf from birth. Many of them use one of the three native sign languages: Swiss German Sign Language, Langue des signes française and Lingua italiana dei segni. However, in contrast to most European countries, sign language is not explicitly anchored in the constitution or in the law. (mg/dpo)

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