Published June 29, 2019
This video was recorded by Kristen Tcherneshoff in Denmark. Danish Sign Language, shortened to DTS in Danish and DSL in English, shows some influence by French Sign Language (FSL) and Icelandic Sign Language, and has produced the dialects of Faroese Sign Language and Greenlandic Sign Language. The presence of French signs in DSL may be due to their incorporation by Peter Atke Castberg when he founded the first deaf school in Denmark in 1807. The relationship between Norwegian Sign Language and DSL is unsettled--many consider NSL a descendant of DSL (and therefore a branch of the Danish Sign Language family), but the similarities may also be due to a mixing of DSL and indigenous signs in Norway. Despite the early education available for the deaf Danish population in the 1800s, rights for deaf education and adequate schooling in Denmark have a complicated history. As recently as 2011, the president of the Danish Deaf Association announced that the proper support services for Danish Sign Language education were not being provided as schools for the deaf were in decline, and that emphasis on auditory verbal therapy instead was insufficient to meet the cultural and developmental needs of the children. Work to correct these educational shortcomings is ongoing. Danish Sign Language is a language family unto itself with no known antecedents, and is signed by around 5,000 people.