Puerto Rican Sign Language


A language of Puerto Rico

Alternate Names

Ethnic population: 8,000 to 40,000 deaf persons (Van Cleve 1986).

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Related to American Sign Language [ase].

Language Use

Signs introduced in 1907 by Catholic nuns. Some home signs also used. 4 varieties: Signed Spanish as a pidgin with hearing Spanish [spa] speakers; Signed English as a pidgin with deaf educated in the United States and with hearing English speakers; American Sign Language [ase] with those who know only that; some know only PRSL.

Other Comments

Although some form of PRSL may still be used in the lower populated areas in the western and central parts of the country, it appears that ASL [ase] is becoming the sole sign language of the Puerto Rican deaf community.