Papua New Guinean Sign Language


A language of Papua New Guinea

Alternate Names
Melanesian Sign Language, PNGSL

30,000 (2015 N. Simonsson Juhonewe).



Language Status

6a (Vigorous). Recognized language (2015, Decision No. 100/2015, Directive No. 8), National Executive Council (NEC) endorsement of the National Policy on disability 2015 - 2016 (7 May 2015).


There is a considerable regional variation, but different varieties are mutually understood by Deaf people throughout the country. Influence from Auslan [asf] but not mutually intelligible with it. Influence from Tok Pisin [tpi].

Language Use

Vigorous. Used by all.


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

Other Comments

Two books published prior to 2015 reflect stronger influence from Auslan [asf] than occurs in actual daily use (2016 N. Simonsson Juhonewe). In addition to PNGSL, isolated villages in Papua New Guinea with apparently distinct sign languages have been reported in Enga, Oro, and Chimbu provinces.

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