- List of sign languages
There are perhaps around two hundred sign languages in use around the world today. The number is not known with any confidence; new sign languages emerge frequently through creolization and de novo (and occasionally through language planning). In some countries, such as Sri Lanka and Tanzania, each school for the deaf may have a separate language, known only to its students and sometimes denied by the school; on the other hand, countries may share sign languages, though sometimes under different names (Croatian and Serbian, Indian and Pakistani). Deaf sign languages also arise outside of educational institutions, especially in village communities with high levels of congenital deafness, but there are significant sign languages developed for the hearing as well, such as the speech-taboo languages used in aboriginal Australia.
The following list is grouped into three sections:
- Deaf sign languages, which are the preferred languages of Deaf communities around the world;
- Signed modes of spoken languages, also known as manually coded languages, which are a bridge between the deaf and oral languages;
- Auxiliary sign systems, which are not native languages, but are signed systems of varying complexity used in addition to oral languages. Simple gestures are not included, as they do not constitute language.
Deaf sign languages
There are at least 25 sign languages in Africa, according to researcher Nobutaka Kamei. Some have distributions that are completely independent of those of African spoken languages. At least 13 foreign sign languages, mainly from Europe and America, have been introduced to at least 27 African nations; some of the 23 sign languages documented by Kamei have originated with or been influenced by them.
Language Family Notes Adamorobe Sign Language isolate (ADS) (Ghana) Algerian Sign Language French Bamako Sign Language isolate? ASL? (Malian Sign Language) in a school in Mali. Ethnologue contradicts itself. Bura Sign Language isolate in Nigeria (PDF link) Burkina Sign Language isolate Ouagadougou Chadian Sign Language French:ASL:Nigerian? Congolesian Sign Language ?  Egyptian Sign Language ? Ethiopian sign languages 1 million signers of an unknown number of languages Franco-American Sign Language French × ASL a pidgin observed in Cameroon and elsewhere in West and Central Africa. Gambian Sign Language French:ASL Ghanaian Sign Language French:ASL (GSE) Guinean Sign Language French:ASL Guinea-Bissau Sign Language isolate Hausa Sign Language isolate "Maganar Hannu" (HSL) – Northern Nigeria (Kano State) Kenyan Sign Language isolate (KSL or LAK) Libyan Sign Language Malagasy Sign Language French:Danish:Norwegian (or "Madagascan Sign Language") May be a dialect of Norwegian SL Moroccan Sign Language French:ASL Mozambican Sign Language Mbour Sign Language isolate Mbour, Senegal Namibian Sign Language Nanabin Sign Language isolate a deaf family in Nanabin, Ghana Nigerian Sign Language French:ASL Sierra Leone Sign Language French:ASL Somali Sign Language  South African Sign Language British (SASL) Sudanese Sign Language local Government proposal to unify local languages Tanzanian sign languages several isolates (seven independent languages, one for each deaf school in Tanzania, with little mutual influence) Tebul Sign Language (Tebul Ure SL) Mopti, Mali (village of Tebul Ure) Tunisian Sign Language French:Italian Ugandan Sign Language ? (USL) Zambian Sign Language (ZASL) Zimbabwean Sign Language
Language Family Notes American Sign Language French (ASL) Argentine Sign Language ? (LSA) Bolivian Sign Language French:ASL "Lenguaje de Señas Bolivianas" (LSB) Brazilian Sign Language isolate "Lingua Brasileira de Sinais" (LIBRAS) Chilean Sign Language French? Lenguaje de Señas Chileno (LSCH) Colombian Sign Language (CSN) Costa Rican sign languages at least 4 language (Woodward 1991) Cuban Sign Language Ecuadorian Sign Language Greenlandic Inuit Sign Language "Kalaallisut Ussersuutit" Guatemalan Sign Language Honduras Sign Language "Lengua de señas hondureña" (LESHO) Inuit Sign Language French:ASL?
"Inuit Uqausiqatigiit Uukturausiq Uqajuittunut (General Inuit Sign Language for Deaf)"
There may be more than one. The indigenous languages is an isolate.
Inuktitut Sign Language French:ASL? "Inuktitut Uukturausiq/Tikuqqat" Jamaican Country Sign Language (JCSL) Maritime Sign Language British Mayan Sign Language isolate Mexican Sign Language French "Lengua de señas mexicana" (LSM) Nicaraguan Sign Language isolate "Idioma de señas nicaragüense" (ISN) Quebec Sign Language French-ASL mix "Langue des Signes Québécoise" (LSQ) Panamanian Sign Language "Lengua de señas panameñas" Peruvian Sign Language isolate "Lengua de señas peruana" Puerto Rican Sign Language French:ASL "Lengua se señas puertorriqueño" Providence Island Sign Language isolate Salvadoran Sign Language isolate Tijuana Sign Language isolate Uruguayan Sign Language "Lengua de Señas Uruguaya" Urubú Sign Language isolate (aka Kaapor Sign Language) Venezuelan Sign Language isolate "Lengua de señas venezolana" (LSV)
Language Family Notes Afghan Sign Language Auslan British (Australian Sign Language) Bruneian Sign Language "Bahasa Isyarat Brunei" Cambodian Sign Language  Chinese Sign Language isolate "中國手語" (ZGS) Filipino Sign Language French (Philippine Sign Language, PSP) Ghandruk Sign Language isolate? (Nepal) Hawaii Pidgin Sign Language French:ASL Hong Kong Sign Language Chinese "香港手語" (HKSL). Derives from the southern dialect of CSL. Huay Hai Sign Language (Thailand) [may be dialect of Ban Khor] Indo-Pakistani Sign Language Indian conflicting reports on whether Indian and Pakistani SL are one language or two. Indonesian Sign Language French:ASL:Malaysian "Bahasa Isyarat Indonesia" (BII) Japanese Sign Language Japanese "Nihon Shuwa (日本手話)" (JSL) Jhankot Sign Language isolate (Nepal) Jumla Sign Language isolate (Nepal) Kata Kolok isolate (aka Bali Sign Language, Benkala Sign Language) Laotian Sign Language (related to Vietnamese languages; may be more than one SL) Korean Sign Language Japanese "한국수어 (or 한국수화)" / "Hanguk Soo-hwa" Macau Sign Language "澳門手語" Malaysian Sign Language French:ASL "Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia" (BIM) Mongolian Sign Language ? Na Sai Sign Language (may be dialect of Ban Khor) (Thailand) Nepali Sign Language Indian New Zealand Sign Language British (NZSL) Penang Sign Language isolate (Malaysia) Rennellese Sign Language isolate (Solomon Islands) Samoan Sign Language  Selangor Sign Language (Malaysia) Singapore Sign Language "新加坡手语" is actually just Signed Exact English. The daily language is unknown. Sri Lankan sign languages several isolates (14 deaf schools with different languages) Taiwanese Sign Language Japanese 臺灣手語 / Taiwan Ziran Shouyu Tibetan Sign Language ?  Thailand sign languages (Thai Sign Language French:ASL (TSL) "แบบสะกดนิ้วมือไทย" (incl. Hai Yai); Ban Khor Sign Language (Plaa Pag is a dialect); Old Bangkok Sign Language; Old Chiangmai Sign Language; possibly other undocumented village SLs) Vietnamese sign languages isolates or small family? (Hanoi Sign Language, Ho Chi Minh Sign Language, Haiphong Sign Language; some may be related to some of the Thai languages)
Language Family Notes Albanian Sign Language "Gjuha e Shenjave Shqipe" Armenian Sign Language isolate Austrian Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian "Österreichische Gebärdensprache" (ÖGS) British Sign Language British (BSL) Bulgarian Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian:Russian Catalan Sign Language French? (or "Catalonian Sign Language") "Llengua de Signes Catalana" (LSC) Croatian Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian:Yugoslav (Croslan) "Hrvatski Znakovni Jezik" (HZJ) Czech Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian "Český znakový jazyk" (CZJ) Cyprus Sign Language "Κυπριακή Νοηματική Γλώσσα" (CSL)  Danish Sign Language French "Tegnsprog" Dutch Sign Language French "Nederlandse Gebarentaal" (NGT), also commonly known as "Sign Language of the Netherlands" (SLN) Estonian Sign Language "Eesti viipekeel" Finnish Sign Language Swedish "Suomalainen viittomakieli" (SVK) Finland-Swedish Sign Language Swedish "finlandssvenskt teckenspråk" (Swedish) or "suomenruotsalainen viittomakieli" (Finnish) Flemish Sign Language Lyons?:Belgian "Vlaamse Gebarentaal" (VGT) French Sign Language "Langues des Signes Française" (LSF) German Sign Language German "Deutsche Gebärdensprache" (DGS) Greek Sign Language French-ASL mix "Ελληνική Νοηματική Γλώσσα" (GSL) Hungarian Sign Language "Magyar jelnyelv" Icelandic Sign Language French:Danish "Íslenskt Táknmál" Irish Sign Language French "Teanga Chomharthaíochta na hÉireann" (ISL/ISG and TCÉ) Italian Sign Language French "Lingua dei Segni Italiana" (LIS) Kosovar Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian:Yugoslav "Gjuha e Shenjave Kosovare" (GjShK) Latvian Sign Language French "Latviešu Zīmju Valoda" Lithuanian Sign Language "Lietuvių gestų kalba" Lyons Sign Language isolate (or Lyons family) Macedonian Sign Language ? Македонски знаковен јазик / Makedonski znakoven jazik Maltese Sign Language "Lingwi tas-Sinjali Maltin" (LSM) Northern Ireland Sign Language British (mixed) Norwegian Sign Language French:Danish "Tegnspråk" (NSL) Polish Sign Language German "Polski Język Migowy" (PJM) Portuguese Sign Language Swedish "Língua Gestual Portuguesa" (LGP) Romanian Sign Language French Russian Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian "Russkiy zhestovyi yazyk" / русский жестовый язык Slovakian Sign Language "Slovník Posunkovej Reči" Slovenian Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian:Yugoslav "Slovenski znakovni jezik" Spanish Sign Language isolate "Lengua de signos española" (LSE) Swedish Sign Language Swedish "Svenskt teckenspråk" (TSP) Swiss-French Sign Language French? "Langage Gestuelle" Swiss-German Sign Language French? "Deutschschweizer Gebärdensprache" (DSGS) Swiss-Italian Sign Language French? Turkish Sign Language "Türk İşaret Dili" (TİD) Ukrainian Sign Language "українська жестова мова" Valencian Sign Language "Llengua de Signes en la Comunitat Valenciana" (LSCV) Walloon Sign Language Lyons?:Belgian "Langue des Signes de Belgique Francophone" (LSFB) Yugoslav Sign Language French:Austro-Hungarian "Srpski znak jezika" / "Српски знак језика"
Language Family Notes Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language isolate (ABSL), Negev Ghadaia Sign Language isolate? deaf & hearing, Algeria → Israel Iraqi Sign Language العراقى مترجمي لغة الاشارة Israeli Sign Language German? שפת סימנים ישראלית Jordanian Sign Language ≈ Palestinian Lughat il-Ishaarah il-Urduniah / الاردنية مترجمي لغة الاشارة (LIU) Related to Palestinian, but not to Kuwaiti or Libyan Kuwaiti Sign Language لغة الاشارة الكويتية Lebanese Sign Language Lughat al-Isharat al-Lubnaniya / لغة الإشارات اللبنانية Libyan Sign Language Omani Sign Language "العماني لغة الأشارة" Palestinian Sign Language ≈ Jordanian "لغة الاشارات الفلسطينية" Persian Sign Language Qatari Sign Language "القطري لغة الأشارة" Saudi Sign Language isolate "السعودية مترجمي لغة الاشارة" United Arab Emirates Sign Language "الامارات مترجمي لغة الاشارة" Yemeni Sign Language "اليمني لغة الأشارة" Yiddish Sign Language
Historical sign languages
- Martha's Vineyard Sign Language
- Old French Sign Language – ancestral to French family
- Old Kent Sign Language
Auxiliary sign systems
- Australian Aboriginal sign languages (Warlpiri Sign Language etc)
- Baby Sign – using signs to assist early language development in young children.
- Baseball Sign – a method used in baseball and softball to communicate strategic plays without the opponent knowing
- Contact Sign – a pidgin or contact language between a spoken language and a sign language, e.g. Pidgin Sign English (PSE).
- Curwin Hand Signs – a technique which allows musical notes to be communicated through hand signs.
- International Sign (previously known as Gestuno) – an auxiliary language used by deaf people in international settings.
- Makaton – a system of signed communication used by and with people who have speech, language or learning difficulties.
- Military hand signals – a standardised system of communicating commands and information silently.
- Monastic sign language
- Mudra – word-like gestures and poses uses in Hindu and Buddhist dance drama and religious iconography
- Plains Indian Sign Language
- Plateau Sign Language
- Tic tac – a traditional British system of communicating betting odds at racecourses.
Signed modes of spoken languages
- For a more extensive list see Manually Coded Language. This page lists only those MCLs with pages on Wikipedia.
- Bahasa Malaysia Kod Tangan (BMKT)
- List of sign languages by number of native signers
- Contact sign
- Intercultural competence
- Legal recognition of sign languages
- Manual alphabet
- Sign language
- World Federation of the Deaf
- ^ For a classification, see Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement." Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée 10:1.215-88..
- ^ Kamei, Nobutaka. The Birth of Langue des Signes Franco-Africaine: Creole ASL in West and Central French-speaking Africa, paper presented at Languages and Education in Africa (LEA), University of Oslo, June 19–22, 2006. Article online (PDF)
- ^ Kamei, Nobutaka (2004). The Sign Languages of Africa, "Journal of African Studies" (Japan Association for African Studies) Vol.64, March, 2004. [NOTE: Kamei lists 23 African sign languages in this article].
- ^ History of the Deaf and sign languages in Africa, published (December 25, 2006) on Kamei's website. In Japanese || ||.
- ^ Pamela Perniss, Roland Pfau, Markus Steinbach; Visible Variation. Walter de Gruyter, 2007. (p.ix)
- ^ European Union of the Deaf: Cyprus
- ^ Lanesman, S. & Meir, I. (2007). The sign language of Algerian immigrants in Israel. Paper presented at the workshop Cross-linguistic Research and International Cooperation in Sign Language Linguistics, Nijmegen.
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