Swedish Sign Language


A language of Sweden

Alternate Names
STS, Svenskt teckenspråk, SwedSL

10,000 (2014 EUD). 10,000 Deaf sign language users (2014 EUD). 40,000 Deaf (2014 IMB).



Language Status

4 (Educational). Recognized language (2009, Languages Act, Article 9).


None known. Partly intelligible with Norwegian [nsl], Danish [dsl], and Finnish [fse] sign languages.


One-handed fingerspelling.

Language Use

Used since 1800. First deaf school established in 1809. Deaf schools. Deaf associations. Regarded as bilingual minority. Taught and constituting a subject of research at Stockholm University.

Language Development
Written Swedish taught in the schools (Svartholm 2010). New media. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2001–2008.
Other Comments

The Language Law of 2009 officially recognizes Swedish Sign Language in a way similar to the earlier recognition of the five national minority languages, with an obligation to protect and promote it. 600 sign language interpreters (2014 EUD). Many L2 users, with classes for parents of deaf children and other hearing people (2013 N. Juhonewe). Fingerspelling system is unlike other European languages. Christian (Protestant).