Bolivian Sign Language

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Bolivian Sign Language
Lenguaje de Señas Bolivianas LSB
Native to Bolivia
Native speakers
350–400  (1988)[1]
French Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bvl
Glottolog boli1236[2]

Bolivian Sign Language (Lenguaje de Señas Bolivianas, LSB) is a dialect of American Sign Language (ASL) used in Bolivia.

In 1973 ASL was adopted in Bolivia by missionary activities and the original sign languages of the towns were no longer used.[3] The first book of LSB was published in 1992, but more than 90% of the signs were from ASL.[3] Due to research work in the 1990s and 2000s a lot of expressions in LSB were collected by Bolivian Deaf, and education materials for learning LSB or teaching in LSB were published. The dependence on words used in ASL was reduced, but the usage of ASL words still is over 70%.

Today LSB is used by more deaf Bolivians than the reported 400 in 1988 in the Ethnologue report (E. Powlison),[1] due to the introduction of bilingual education (LSB as primary language and Spanish as secondary language) originally in Riberalta and its adoption to other schools in Bolivia with the support of the Education Ministry of Bolivia and the growing social exchange of the Deaf.

In 1988, there were a total of 9 deaf institutions in the country and 46,800 deaf Bolivians.[4] In 2002 there was approximately 25 deaf schools.[3]


  1. ^ a b Bolivian Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Bolivian Sign Language". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ a b c CGG: Projektinformationen: Bericht von Carole Collaud, 1. Teil Geschichte der LSB (Bolivianische Gebärdensprache) (German)
  4. ^ Bolivian Sign Language @ Ethnologue