French Sign Language


A language of France

Alternate Names
FSL, Langue des Signes Française, LSF

50,000–100,000 users in France (Van Cleve 1986). 1,000 users of Marseille Sign Language (1975 Sallagooty).


Southern FSL is used in Marseille, Toulon, La Ciotat, and Salon de Provence. Also in French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Marseille Sign Language (Southern French Sign Language). Many sign languages influenced by this, but not necessarily intelligible with it. Partially intelligible with sign languages from Austria, Czech Republic, and Italy, at least. Lexical similarity: 43% with American Sign Language [ase] in an 872-word list.

Language Development
HamNoSys Notation. SignWriting.
Other Comments

First sign language in the western world to gain recognition as a language (1830). Originated in 1752 as what is now known as Old French Sign Language. Sign languages were known in France in the 16th century, and probably earlier. Different from Signed French.

Also spoken in:

Expand All Collapse All