Flemish Sign LanguagePrint
6,000 (2005 M. Vermeerbergen).
5 (Developing). Recognized language (2006, Parliamentary decree, 15 February).
Antwerpen (Antwerp), Limburg (Limburg), Oost-Vlaanderen (East Flanders), Vlaams-Brabant (Flemish Brabant), West-Vlaanderen (West Flanders). Reportedly most similar to French Belgian Sign Language [sfb]. Regional dialects developed in different deaf schools. Influence from spoken Dutch, particularly in mouthing. Also intra-regional variation, some related to gender and age.
Formal recognition by the Flemish government granted on 26 April 2006. Legal provision of free sign language interpreting since 1993. Some Flemish Sign Language courses and training programs (also for interpreters). 7 schools for the deaf in Flanders but only a few use VGT for instruction. As of 2008, deaf children increasingly put in regular schools, with occasional interpreting into VGT. No VGT interpreting on television. Some materials in VGT on video, CD-Rom, DVD and websites (e.g. a signing book of Flemish Sign Language grammar and DVDs with children’s stories).
Limited influence from Signed Dutch used some for communication with hearing people.