Indian Sign Language


A language of India

Alternate Names
Indo-Pakistani Sign Language, Urban Indian Sign Language

5,930,000 in India (2014 IMB). Possibly over 10 million profoundly deaf, assuming approximately 1% of the general population (over 1.21 billion according to the 2011 census), which is a typical range for developing countries.



Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Bangalore-Chennai-Hyderabad Sign Language, Mumbai-Delhi Sign Language, Kolkata Sign Language. There is considerable sign language variation in south Asia, which has only been partially assessed. Some scholars report that most varieties in India and Pakistan are dialects of ISL, while others feel at least some varieties should be recognized as separate languages. Some influence from British Sign Language [bfi] in the fingerspelling system and a few other signs developed indigenously in India. Related to Nepalese Sign Language [nsp].

Language Use

Many also use American Sign Language [ase], especially in Bangalore (Panda 2012).

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: Below 2%. Male literacy rate is higher than female as men more likely to attend school. TV. Videos. Dictionary.
Other Comments

2% or less of deaf children attend deaf schools. Deaf schools mainly do not use ISL, but vocational programs often do. In 2001, interpretive training courses initiated in Mumbai by the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for Hearing Handicapped. Nearly all educated deaf are bilingual in a language of wider communication to some degree.

Also spoken in:

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