Chilean Sign Language


A language of Chile

Alternate Names
Lengua de Señas Chilena, Lenguaje Chileno de Signos, Lenguaje de Señas, LENSE, LSCh

21,000 (Parks, Parks, and Williams 2011). 292,700 people with some level of auditory deficiency (2005 Fondo Nacional de la Discapacidad); 66,500 people with total deafness (23,900 less than 60 years old) (2002 census).



Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (2010, Article 26 of Law No. 20.422).


Variation based on region (northern, central, and southern), age, and educational background. Regional varieties are influenced by bordering countries. (Parks, Parks, and Williams 2011).

Language Use

All domains. All ages. While Chilean Sign Language is the primary language of communication for most deaf people, widely varying degrees of bilingualism (spoken and written) in Spanish [spa] are common. Spanish literacy for access to mainstream society and employment is valued.

Language Development
37 Deaf teachers of Chilean sign language (2006 V. Castillo Martínez). Bilingual-bicultural approach to education. Approximately 15 sign language interpreters (2008 World Federation of the Deaf). TV. Dictionary.