Polish Sign Language (polski język migowy, PJM) is a visual-spatial language used in everyday communication by the Deaf community in Poland. The capital letter in the word Deaf is meant to indicate that the community is viewed here as a linguistic minority. Like the other natural sign languages of the European Deaf, PJM belongs to the linguistic and cultural heritage of Europe and, as such, needs to be protected.
It emerged around 1817, when the first school for the deaf was established in Warsaw, and today its number of users is estimated to exceed 50,000. The grammar and lexicon of PJM are radically different from those of spoken Polish but for many decades PJM was deprived of the status of a full-fledged natural language. In recent years, however, this approach has started to change, as is evidenced by a newly passed Polish law on sign language and other means of communication (2011), which, among other measures, grants the Deaf community new rights concerning interpreting services in contacts with public administration.