New Zealand Sign Language


A language of New Zealand

Alternate Names
Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (2006, New Zealand Sign Language Act, No. 18, Article 6).


Many structural similarities between British Sign Language (BSL) [bfi], Australian Sign Language (Auslan) [asf], and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) [nzs] and a high degree of mutual intelligibility (Johnston 2003). Linguists sometimes use the name BANZSL to refer to them as a group, while still recognizing each as a separate language.

Language Use

Developed informally among deaf people at school and in deaf organizations. Used since 1800s. First school for the deaf established 1880 with oralist policies until 1979. Contemporary NZSL is related to British [bfi] and Australian [asf] Sign Languages. (2005 R. McKee).

Language Development
TV. Dictionary. Grammar.
HamNoSys Notation.
Other Comments

Manual system for spelling.