Egyptian Sign Language


A language of Egypt

Alternate Names
ESL, Egypt Sign Language, LIM, Lughat al-Ishaara al-Masriya, Lughat al-‘Ishāra al-Maṣriyya

474,000 (2014 IMB).



Language Status

5 (Developing).


None known. Survey needed. Not the same as Unified Arabic Sign Language, an artificial system promoted by representatives of 18 Arabic-speaking countries (Rashdan 2016). Relatively low lexical similarity with Jordanian Sign Language (LIU) [jos].


Content Q-Word Position: Final; Content Q-Word: One general plus some specific; Negation: Manual-dominant, Special emphatic negators; Fingerspelling: One-handed (Arabic script).

Language Use

Vigorous. Interpreters in some mosques. Used by all.

Language Development

Dictionary. Bible portions: 2014. Agency: National Association for the Deaf.


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

Other Comments

Mouthing sometimes distinguishes manually-identical signs. Several fingerspelling systems used in schools; the one traditionally used by Deaf adults is one-handed. Over 200 schools for deaf children, also mainstream education and special classes in public schools; classroom use varies from none (oralism) to signing by non-fluent teachers. Prior to 2015, university education was only available to those educated entirely in public schools. (Rashdan 2016). Taught as L2. Muslim, Christian.

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