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Sign language in the Guinness World Records

Sign Languages have also been the protagonists of some of the records that can be found in the famous Guinness World Records book. Here they go.


1. Fastest Fingerspelling of the World

The record to the fastest time to spell the dactylology of a Sign Language was achieved by Thomas McWhinney for 4.7 seconds (in the UK). He won the record on 23 August 2008.

The time may vary depending on the Sign Language, although so far there is no record for any other. In the United Kingdom, a competition of the fastest fingerspelling called "Hot Fingers" has been organised several times, in which a slight error means disqualification in the competition.



2. Most People Performing Sign Language in Multiple Venues

The maximum number of people who performed the same song simultaneously in different places in Sign Language is 116,980 people.

The record was achieved at an event organised by the charity organisation SignHealth in schools across the UK on 6 February 2013. A total of 513 schools from all over the UK participated to increase deaf awareness by introducing some basic Sign Language among a younger generation.



3. Most People Performing Sign Language

The same record number of people interpreting simultaneously in Sign Language but in the same venue is held by Hong Kong on 1 November 2014, with 8,504 people. The purpose was to collect funds for Yan Chai Hospital and raise awareness of the needs of deaf people.

In the following picture, you can see the hospital organization receiving the Guinness record certificate

Récord Guinness del hospital Yan Chai de Hong Kong por el mayor número de personas interpretando simultáneamente en lengua de signos
Certificado de Récord Guinness del Hospital Yan Chai de Hong Kong (foto: www.crowehorwath.net)

[Update 11.11.2019] This record was broken on 1 November 2019, five years later, by Changchun University in northwest China, with a total of 10,223 people performing the song 'Grateful Heart'.

Hundreds of people interpreting in Sign Language
10,223 people performing a sign language song at Changchun University (photo: Xinhua)


4. Largest Sign Language Lesson

If it is already hard to teach a Sign Language lesson to more than 15 or 20 students, imagine doing it to 1,442 people at the same time. This is the number of people who participated in the world's largest Sign Language lesson, it was in Rajkot (India) and the record was set on 28 June 2017.

The lesson was given by the District Administration of Rajkot, the fourth most populous city in the State of Gujarat in India and the highlight was the performance of the Indian National Anthem in Sign Language by the participants in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.



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