Italian Sign Language


A language of Italy

Alternate Names
Lingua Italiana Dei Segni, LIS

40,000 (2014 EUD). 40,000 deaf sign language users (2014 EUD). 70,000 profoundly deaf people, including 9,000 school age. (Van Cleve 1986).


Scattered, including Sardinia and Sicily.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Some variation between northern, central, and southern regions, possibly enough to be considered separate languages. Deaf Italians report that communication between signers from different regions requires negotiation. Opinions differ as to whether the variation is desirable or should be standardized (2013 D. Eberle and S. Eberle). Fingerspelling system similar to French Sign Language [fsl].


One-handed fingerspelling.

Language Use

While Italian Sign Language is considered the primary language of communication for most deaf people, widely varying degrees of bilingualism (spoken and written) in Italian [ita] are common (2013 D. Eberle and S. Eberle).

Language Development
Theater. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar.
Other Comments

300 sign language interpreters (2014 EUD). Classes in LIS for hearing people. Christian (Roman Catholic).