Response from World Federation of the Deaf on Standardizing Sign Language
People out there that are trying to standardize sign language are getting backlash from the World Federation of the Deaf. The biggest issue with the idea of standardized sign language is that language is not standardized throughout the world. Why would sign language be something that becomes standardized and forced?
Language is supposed to be a beautiful thing, something that is evolving and adapted based on culture and environment. This is something that has happened and shouldn't be forced. One thing that the WFD says in their video (available on Vimeo) is targeted at the concept that there are variations of languages around them and often language standardization takes a single word or sign for a concept and tries to force it through each and every culture.
This is ignoring the natural intuition that people have all throughout the world. Not everybody has the same way of looking at things, so why should their language be forced to be the same? One of the rules of being recognized as a language is that it must be constantly evolving however when doing things like this, it blocks the efforts of an evolving language.
"It is important to highlight that sign languages are full-fledged natural languages, structurally independent from the spoken languages with which they co-exist; they are certainly in contact with these spoken languages but their structure is different and independent." ( WFD )
This practice of ignoring natural languages may be something that comes unintentionally and often comes off as an innocent activity however it can be very harmful to many cultures. WFD already has a policy in place about the Unification of Sign Language and basically points out the reasoning that people have for wanting to change sign languages. This isn't an old issue for the policy has been in place since 2007 however it has to be brought up and served as a reminder to the community that each part of the world is in its own right to provide language that fits their community and culture.