Bura Sign Language

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Bura Sign Language
Native to Nigeria
Region 40 km SE of Biu
Ethnicity Bura people
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Village sign language, West African gestural area
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog bura1295[1]

Bura Sign Language is a village sign language used by the Bura people around the village of Kukurpu, 40 km (25 miles) south-east of Biu, Nigeria, an area with a high degree of congenital deafness. It is unrelated to Nigerian Sign Language and is "likely ... quite independent".[2] None of the signers have been to school, the area where it is used is rather remote, and there appears to be no influence of Western sign.

Bura SL has the lax hand shapes and large sign space characteristic of West African sign. Many of the words are similar or identical to those of Adamorobe Sign Language and Nanabin Sign Language of Ghana, and appear to be based on the gestures common to the hearing population across West Africa. These involve conventionalized metaphors such as 'sweat' for "work" and 'sleep' for "next day".

See also[edit]

  • Mofu-Gudur language, spoken by a hearing population in a neighboring region of Cameroon who use an estimated 1,500 conventionalized gestures.


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Bura Sign Language". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Blench & Nyst 2003, p. 14, "None of the speakers had attended any school, let alone a school for the deaf and this is a remote area, so links with better-known sign languages seem unlikely. It seems likely that this deaf language is quite independent."