Hawaii Sign Language


A language of United States

Alternate Names
Hawai’i Pidgin Sign Language, Hawaiian Sign Language, HPS, HSL


Language Status

8b (Nearly extinct).


None known. Not related to American Sign Language [ase] or any other known sign language, less than 20% probable cognates with ASL (2013 J. Woodward). Many elderly use a mixture of HSL with ASL.


SOV, noun-first in noun phrase, verb precedes negative, sentence-final question words.

Language Use

Largely replaced by American Sign Language [ase], starting about 1950. A few users from about 6,000 profoundly deaf people in Hawaii (1987 Honolulu Star-Bulletin), 72,000 deaf or hard-of-hearing people in Hawaii (1998 Honolulu Advertiser). Elderly only. Also use American Sign Language [ase], English [eng].

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