Flemish Sign Language

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A language of Belgium

Alternate Names
VGT
Population

6,000 (2005 M. Vermeerbergen).

Language Status

5 (Developing). Language of recognized nationality (2006, Parliamentary decree, 15 February).

Dialects

Antwerpen (Antwerp), Limburg (Limburg), Oost-Vlaanderen (East Flanders), Vlaams-Brabant (Flemish Brabant), West-Vlaanderen (West Flanders). 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.

Language Use

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).

Language Development
Videos. Dictionary. Grammar.
Other Comments

Limited influence from Signed Dutch used some for communication with hearing people.