Chilean Sign Language


A language of Chile

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

21,000 (Parks et al 2011a). 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); others give estimates as high as 500,000 users (2018 J. Atala).



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 et al 2011a).

Language Use

All domains. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Favor use by both Deaf and hearing people. Also use Spanish [spa], with varying degrees of bilingualism in speech and writing. 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 WFD). TV. Dictionary. Agency: Asociación de Sordos de Chile (ASOCH).


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

Other Comments

Interpretation and subtitling is mandated for television under Article 25 of Law No. 20.422.

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