Finnish Sign Language


A language of Finland

Alternate Names

5,000 (Van Cleve 1986).

Language Status

5 (Developing).


2 major dialects from the Finnish (17 schools) and Swedish (1 school) communities. Apparent influence from Swedish Sign Language [swl] merged with local indigenous varieties. Not intelligible with Danish Sign Language [dsl].

Language Use

The government pays interpreters to accompany the deaf to hospitals, college, church, etc. Interpreters required in court. Instruction for parents of deaf children. Many classes for hearing people. Committee on national sign language.

Language Development
Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 1989.
Other Comments

First deaf school founded 1850s. Signed Finnish is distinct, but used by some teachers of the deaf.