Russian Sign Language

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A language of Russian Federation

Population

L1 users: 121,000 (2010 census). 715,000 (2014 IMB). Total users in all countries: 122,000.

Location

Scattered. Moscow and Saint Petersburg are major centers.

Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

Reported historical connections to sign languages in Austria and France, but not obvious from extensive wordlist comparison (Bickford 2005). Relatively high lexical similarity to sign languages in Ukraine [ukl] and Moldova [vsi] (Bickford 2005). Significant dialect variation.

Typology

One-handed fingerspelling (Cyrillic script).

Language Use

Vigorous. Hundreds of residential schools for deaf; some vocational schools, mainly oralist. Deaf associations and athletic clubs. Signed interpretation required in court and used at important public events. Many sign language classes for hearing people. Organization for sign language teachers. All ages.

Language Development
TV. Videos. Dictionary. Agency: All-Russian Society of the Deaf (FOG).
Other Comments

First school for the deaf opened at Pavlovsk near St. Petersburg in 1806. Reported to also be used in Federal Republics such as Chechnya; in countries formerly part of the Soviet Union, such as Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kygryzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In some of these locations, other sign languages are also reported to be used; but it is not known to what extent these are separate distinct sign languages, related sign languages or dialects of RSL. Christian.

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