Tanzanian Sign Language


A language of Tanzania

Alternate Names
Lugha Ya Alama

278,000 (2008 WFD). 278,000 deaf signers (2008 WFD).


Scattered, mainly in urban areas.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


None known. The sign language in the Moshi-Kilamanjaro region is significantly different, to a degree yet to be determined. Distinct from sign languages in surrounding countries.

Language Use

All domains. All ages.

Language Development
Dictionary. Bible portions: 2011–2014.
Other Comments

Historically, schools for the deaf used different sign languages, and some schools teach only speech and lip-reading. More recently, Tanzanian sign language was standardized by the Tanzania Association for the Deaf which is attempting to use it in most schools for the deaf. Primary schools for deaf children since 1963. About 5% of deaf children attend school.