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Tanzanian sign languages

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Title: Tanzanian sign languages  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Deaf-community sign language, Village sign language, Polish manual alphabet, Irish manual alphabet, Portuguese manual alphabet
Collection: Endangered Language Isolates, Languages of Tanzania, Sign Language Isolates
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tanzanian sign languages

Tanzanian sign
Native to Tanzania
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tza
Glottolog tanz1238[1]

Seven or so Tanzanian sign languages were developed independently among deaf students in separate Tanzanian schools for the Deaf starting in 1963, though use of several is forbidden by their schools. In 1984, a standardized Tanzanian Sign Language was proposed by the Tanzania Association for the Deaf, using common or similar signs where these exist in the schools which allowed research, but it has not been officially implemented, and there remains little influence between the languages. A dictionary has been produced.[2]

The common Swahili name in Tanzania for these languages is Lugha ya Alama. (The name Lugha ya Bubu is also used but is reported by Ethnologue to be pejorative[3] and is offensive to deaf people.)


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tanzanian Sign Language". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ Muzale, MRT (2004). Kamusi ya Lugha ya Alama ya Tanzania (LAT) / Tanzanian Sign Language (TSL) Dictionary.  
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul; Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2013). "Ethnologue: Languages of the World". Ethnologue (17th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 

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