Zimbabwe Sign Language


A language of Zimbabwe

Alternate Names
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Masvingo School Sign, Zimbabwe Community Sign, Zimbabwe School Sign. Masvingo sign language is different from that used in other schools. School languages differ from those used by adults outside. Inherent intelligibility unclear. Some educators desire standardization. Possible relationships to sign languages from Germany, Ireland, Australia, England, South Africa.


Finger-spelling system.

Language Use

Deaf people go to different schools, each with a different sign language. Primary schools for deaf children since 1940s. More spaces being opened for deaf students in special classes in local schools. Little research on the sign language has been carried out.

Language Development
Literacy in English [eng] is better among some deaf people than others, but generally limited. Quite limited in Shona [sna], which is mainly known by those from Masvingo. TV.
Other Comments

The deaf community is strong in terms of individual identity. The deaf focus their lives around deaf social networks and activities.