Mexican Sign Language


A language of Mexico

Alternate Names
Lengua de Señas Mexicana, Lenguaje de las Manos, Lenguaje de Señas de México, Lenguaje de Señas Mexicano, Lenguaje de Signos Mexicano, Lenguaje Manual Mexicana, LSM

130,000 (2010 SIL). Population based on 87,000–100,000 mainly monolingual users from 1986 (T. Smith-Stark), adjusted for population growth since 1986 (2011 S. Dufoe).


Scattered, except in portions of the Yucatan Peninsula (see Yucatec Mayan Sign Language [msd]) and some other rural areas.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Influence from Old French Sign Language [fsl] starting in 1867. Monterrey and Torreón both use a subdialect of LSM with a lot of different and newly invented signs. Mazatlan reportedly has more ASL [ase] influence. Both ASL and LSM are used in parts of Baja California Norte, especially in Tijuana and Ensenada. Users of ASL have 14% intelligibility of LSM. Lexical similarity 85%–100% among regional dialects, nearly all above 90% (Bickford 1991).

Language Development
Dictionary. Bible portions: 2013.
Other Comments

Most deaf schools use oralist method, but some use signs. 15 deaf churches or agencies for the deaf in the Mexico City area, 4 in Guadalajara, 3 in Mérida, 3 in Puebla, 3 in Cuernavaca, 2 in Los Mochis, 2 in Monterrey, 2 in Tijuana, 2 in Ciudad Juárez, 2 in Torreón, 2 in Aguascalientes, at least one each in Jojutla, Cd. Madero, Cd. Mante, Reynosa, Ensenada, Torreón, Colima, Morelia, Pachuca, Tampico, Toluca, Queretaro, Tlaxcala, San Luis Potosi, Celaya, Hermosillo, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Acanceh, Zaplotanejo. 19 schools for the deaf in Saltillo, Guadalajara (3), Mexico City (6), Morelia, Cuernavaca, Monterrey, Ciudad Obregón, Hermosillo, Villahermosa, Matamoros, Veracruz; athletic clubs, theatre troupes, craft schools, rehabilitation institutions.