Swiss-Italian Sign Language


A language of Switzerland

Alternate Names
Lingua dei segni della Svizzera italiana, Lingua dei Segni Italiana, LIS, LIS-SI

300 (Boyes Braem 2010). 10,000 deaf signers in all of Switzerland (2014 EUD).


Scattered. Ticino and Graub√ľnden cantons.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (2002, Federal Parliament, Law on Equality for Disabled People).


None known. Two main varieties: Lugano, Bellinzona (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). Similar to Italian Sign Language [ise]. Variety used around Bellinzona influenced by sign languages of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Poland. (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010) Fingerspelling system similar to French Sign Language [fsl].


One-handed fingerspelling.

Language Use

Deaf school has closed (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). Deaf association. Status of signing is increasing. Other signed and written languages in Switzerland and surrounding countries, including ASL [ase] (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010).

Language Development
TV. Videos. Dictionary.
Other Comments

Taught as L2. 13,000 hearing signers (all three sign languages) in Switzerland, estimate based on participants in sign language classes (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). 7 working sign language interpreters (2014 EUD). Christian (Roman Catholic).