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SIL contributes to the language development goals of Deaf communities through the provision of technical services, training and research on sign languages. 

Deaf linguist As languages of the eye rather than the ear, sign languages form a unique class of the world’s languages. Linguists have agreed that there are more than 130 identified so far, but research to identify the world’s sign languages is far from finished. SIL estimates that the actual number may exceed 400. For many Deaf people sign languages are their primary means of communication. Yet they live in a world dominated by communication in spoken languages that they cannot hear. Like other minority language users, in many countries Deaf people wish to use their sign languages in education, commerce, government, medical and social service settings, and religious practice.

SIL partners with local, regional and global organizations to help build capacity in sign language communities for the pursuit of their language development and Scripture translation goals.