List of sign languages by number of native signers

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The following are sign languages reported to be used by at least 10,000 people. Additional languages, such as Chinese Sign Language, are likely to have more signers, but no data is available. Estimates for sign language use are very crude, and definitions of what counts as proficiency are varied. For most sign languages, there are no concrete estimates. For instance, it has been reported there are a million signers in Ethiopia, but there are only a fifth that number of deaf people, less than half of whom are fluent in sign, and in addition it is unknown how many different 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 others in south Asia No legal recognition. Native to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh 6,300,000 (2019)
Indonesian Sign Language Based on French Sign Language family Native to Indonesia 900,000 (2016)[1]
Russian Sign Language French Sign Language family Native to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania 715,000 (2014)[2]
Brazilian Sign Language Language isolate Legally recognized by law (10.436) in Brazil, on April 24, 2002[3] 600,000 (2019)
Spanish Sign Language Unknown origin Officially recognized by Spanish Government. Native to Spain except Catalonia and Valencia 523,000 (2017)
Egyptian Sign Language Arab sign-language family Native to Egypt 474,000 (2014)[4]
American Sign Language Old French Sign Language and Martha's Vineyard Sign Language Native to the United States 459,850[5]
Persian Sign Language Language isolate Native to Iran 325,000 (2019)[6]
Turkish Sign Language from Ottoman Sign Language Native to Turkey 300,000 (2019)[7]
Japanese Sign Language JSL Family Native to Japan. 126,000 (2019)
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)
German Sign Language German Sign Language family Native to Germany 80,000 (2014)
British Sign Language BANZSL Native to United Kingdom. 80,000 (2014)
Malaysian Sign Language French: ASL Native to Malaysia 60,000 (2013)
Polish Sign Language German Sign Language family Native to Poland. 38,000 to 50,000 (2014)
Italian Sign Language French Sign Language family Officially Recognized language in Sicily. Native to Italy 40,000 (2014)
New Zealand Sign Language BANZSL An official language of New Zealand since 2006 23,000 (2018 census)[8]
Yugoslav Sign Language French: Austro-Hungarian Native to Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia 22,000 (2010-2014)
Uruguayan Sign Language French Sign Language family Legally recognized in Uruguay since 2001 under Law 17.378.[9][10] 20,000 (2019)[11]
Hong Kong Sign Language Chinese Native to Hong Kong 20,000 (2007)
Dutch Sign Language French Native to Netherlands 15,000 (2019)
Auslan BANZSL Native to Australia 10,000 (2016 census)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Indonesian Sign Language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Russian Sign Language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  3. ^ Lei 10.436 de 24 de abril de 2002 Archived 2010-09-10 at the Wayback Machine (in Portuguese)
  4. ^ "Egyptian Sign Language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  5. ^ "American Sign Language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Iranian Sign Language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  7. ^ "Turkish Sign Language". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  8. ^ "2018 Census totals by topic – national highlights (updated)". Stats NZ. 30 April 2020.
  9. ^ Meyers, Stephen; Lockwood, Elizabeth (2014-12-06). "The Tale of Two Civil Societies: Comparing disability rights movements in Nicaragua and Uruguay". Disability Studies Quarterly. 34 (4). doi:10.18061/dsq.v34i4.3845. ISSN 2159-8371.
  10. ^ "Ley N° 17378". www.impo.com.uy. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  11. ^ Observador, El. "Lengua de señas en Uruguay: cómo es, dónde se estudia y en qué programas se incluirá". El Observador. Retrieved 2021-06-08.