List of sign languages by number of native signers

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The following are sign languages reported to be spoken by at least 10,000 people. Additional languages, such as Chinese Sign Language, are likely to have more speakers, but no data is available. Estimates for sign language use are very crude, and definitions of what counts as proficiency varied. For most sign languages we do not have even a crude estimate. For instance, there are reported to be a million signers in Ethiopia, but it is unknown which or how many sign languages they use.

Language Family or origin Legal recognition and where spoken natively by significant population Ethnologue estimate
Indo-Pakistani Sign Language Related to Nepalese Sign Language and possibly other sign languages of the region No legal recognition. Native to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 1,500,000 in India (2008)
American Sign Language Old French Sign Language and Martha's Vineyard Sign Language ≈ 500,000 in the USA
Brazilian Sign Language Language isolate Legally recognized by law 10.436, April 24, 2002[1] - Native to Brazil. 200,000 (2010)
Russian Sign Language French Sign Language family Native to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Bulgaria; partly in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania. 120,000 (2010 census)
Japanese Sign Language JSL Family Native to Japan. 60,000 (no date) or 320,000 (1986)
Mexican Sign Language French Sign Language family Native to Urban Mexico. 130,000 (2010 projection)
French Sign Language French Sign Language family. Descended from Old French Sign Language Native to France. Spoken in Switzerland, Mali, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Togo, Vietnam 100,000 (2019)
British Sign Language BANZSL Native to United Kingdom. 80,000 (2014)
German Sign Language German Sign Language family Native to Germany. 80,000 (2014)
Malaysian Sign Language French: ASL 60,000 (2013)
Spanish Sign Language Unknown origin. Officially recognized by Spanish Government. Native to Spain except Catalonia and Valencia. 45,000 (1994)
Polish Sign Language German Sign Language family Native to Poland. 38,000 to 50,000 signers (2014)
Italian Sign Language American Recognized language in Sicily. 40,000 (2014)
Yugoslav Sign Language French: Austro-Hungarian Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia 22,000 (2010-2014)
Hong Kong Sign Language Chinese 20,000 (2007)
Dutch Sign Language French 15,000 (2019)
Auslan BANZSL Native to Australia. 10,000 (2016 census)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lei 10.436 de 24 de abril de 2002 Archived 2010-09-10 at the Wayback Machine (in Portuguese)