Danish Sign Language

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Danish Sign Language
Region Denmark
Native speakers
5,000 in Denmark proper;  (2007)[1]
also in Greenland
? French sign
  • Danish Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dsl
Glottolog dani1246[2]

Danish Sign Language (Dansk tegnsprog, DTS) is the sign language used in Denmark.


Wittmann (1991)[3] assigned DSL to the French Sign Language family because of similarities in vocabulary. However, the founder of the first deaf school in Denmark, Peter Atke Castberg (in 1807), was receptive to local sign and so may have introduced FSL signs to the local language rather than FSL itself.[4]

Norwegian Sign Language is generally thought to be a descendant of DSL. However, it may well be a mixture of DSL and indigenous sign, parallel to the situation between Swedish Sign and Finnish Sign.[4]

Icelandic Sign Language is closer; 37% of a set of analyzed signs (Aldersson 2006) were completely different in structure and a further 16% were similar but not the same. Faeroese and Greenlandic Sign are more clearly dialects of DSL.


  1. ^ Danish Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Danish Sign Language". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement." Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée 10:1.215–88.[1]
  4. ^ a b Brita Bergman & Elisabeth Engberg-Pedersen, 2010. Transmission of sign languages in the Nordic countries. In Brentari, ed., Sign Languages. Cambridge University Press.

External links[edit]

Sign Language Studies | October 1, 2008 | Aldersson, Russell R; McEntee-Atalianis, Lisa J | 700+ words