Estonian Sign Language


A language of Estonia

Alternate Names

4,500 users out of 1,600 deaf and 20,000 hearing impaired. 2,000 persons need regular help from interpreters (1998 U. Sutrop).


Widespread, mostly in Tallinn and Pärnu.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Some local dialects. The dialect in Pärnu is most archaic. Influences from Finnish [fse] and Russian Sign Languages [rsl].

Language Use

Russian Sign Language [rsl] is used in Tallinn by deaf Russians. In other regions Russians use some pidginized versions of Russian Sign Language mixed with Estonian Sign Language. Systematic teaching and research since 1990 at the Department of Special Education at Tartu University. Sign language instruction for parents of deaf children in Tallinn. Also use Russian Sign Language [rsl].

Language Development
TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar.