Zimbabwean sign languages

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Zimbabwean sign
Native to Zimbabwe
Native speakers
(no estimate available)[1]
several Deaf-community sign languages of unknown origin
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 zib
Glottolog zimb1247[2]

Several Zimbabwean sign languages developed independently among deaf students in different Zimbabwean schools for the deaf starting in the 1940s. It is not clear how many languages they are, as little research has been done; Masvingo School Sign is known to be different from that of other schools, but each school apparently has a separate sign language, and these are different from the language or languages used outside of the schools.[3] American Sign Language is reported to be used, but it is not clear to what extent.[4] "Sign language" became one of Zimbabwe's official national languages in the Constitution of 2013, but there is no indication of what this means.[5]


  1. ^ Zimbabwean sign at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Zimbabwe Sign Language". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Zimbabwean sign languages reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  4. ^ American Sign Language reference at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009)
  5. ^ http://www.gta.gov.zw/index.php/documents/constitution-of-zimbabwe