What are the challenges facing BSL?
At the beginning of the 21st century, there are two contrasting futures for British Sign Language in the UK.
On the one hand, there are pressures, such as the decrease in opportunities for Deaf children to use sign language with their peers as a result of the shift to mainstream education, increased uptake of cochlear implants, and possible decrease in the Deaf population as a result of medical intervention and advances in genetics.
On the other hand, there is increased interest and demand from the hearing community for courses in sign language, increased use of sign language in public contexts such as television, baby sign courses, and increased pride of the Deaf community in their distinctive language and culture. It is to be hoped and expected that sign languages will continue to be living languages.