Nigerian Sign Language

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Nigerian Sign Language
Native to Nigeria, Chad, Republic of Congo
Native speakers
2,800 in Chad  (2008)[1]
unknown number in Nigeria
French Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
nsi – Nigerian Sign
cds – Chadian Sign
Glottolog nige1259[2]

Nigerian Sign Language is the national sign language of deaf people in Nigeria. It was introduced in 1960, a few years after Ghanaian Sign Language, by Andrew Foster, a deaf African-American missionary, and is based on American Sign Language (and indeed may be considered a dialect of ASL), as there had been no education or organizations for the deaf previously. There is a Ghanaian influence in NSL; both are based on American Sign Language. NSL is unrelated to local Nigerian sign languages such as Hausa Sign Language, Yoruba Sign Language, and Bura Sign Language.

Chadian and Congolese teachers for the deaf are trained in Nigeria. There are deaf schools in Chad in N’Djamena, Sarh, and Moundou.


  1. ^ Nigerian Sign at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Chadian Sign at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Nigerian Sign". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.