Jamaican Sign Language


A language of Jamaica

Alternate Names

7,500 (2011 E. Parks).



Language Status

5 (Developing).


Originated from American Sign Language [ase] introduced by American missionaries (particularly Southern Baptist and Mennonite), and could be considered a dialect of ASL. However, it is gradually diverging from ASL, with significant lexical and syntactic differences (Cumberbatch 2012).

Language Use

Used as primary means of instruction in schools run by the Jamaican Association of the Deaf (Cumberbatch 2012). All ages. Used as L2 by Jamaican Country Sign Language [jcs].

Language Development
Videos. Grammar. Agency: Jamaican Association for the Deaf (JAD).
Other Comments

Mostly concentrated in Kingston, but also found in other parishes such as Montego Bay, St. Anns, and Mandeville (2016 B. Gayle).

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