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Irish Sign Language Week 2018

Updated: 27th September 2018


How the huddle was invented!

DeafHear How the huddle was invented

This week is Irish Sign Language week, a week that celebrates and promotes Irish Sign Language - ISL and Deaf Culture.

There are approximately 5,000 Deaf ISL users, and when we include their families, friends and colleagues, ISL is used by over 40,000 people every day.

In December 2018, the Irish Sign Language Act was passed recognising ISL as Ireland's third indigenous language.

The Deaf Community is a small minority group in Irish society, and as such, it can be difficult to sustain and promote Deaf Culture and ISL in the face of today's fast changing world.

But Deaf Culture does influence and contribute to mainstream culture and behaviour... and today, as part of ISL Week, we thought we would share one such example with you!

In the late 19th century in the United States colleges began to play each other in what we know today as American Football. In this game the quarterback calls the play, and in those days they would just have a simple quick chat with their team to decide the next play.

However, the players on the college team from Gallaudet University, a university that specialises in education for Deaf people, used sign language to communicate their plays. Sometimes they would be playing another school or college with Deaf players. These players could see and understand the signs of the Gallaudet players, and they would gain an advantage on the Gallaudet team from knowing what the next play would be in advance!

To counteract this, sometime in the 1890s, the Gallaudet quarterback Paul Hubbard gathered his team around him so that he could sign the next play to his team without the opposition being able to see it!

Hubbard had just invented what we now know as the 'huddle', a common feature of American Football and many other sports today!

Just one example of how Deaf Culture influenced the behaviour of wider society... and a clear example of how the creativity of a few can influence the many!

And how can you help in promoting ISL and Deaf Culture? Consider enrolling in an ISL class today so you can get involved!




more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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