Swiss-Italian Sign Language


A language of Switzerland

Alternate Names
Lingua dei segni della Svizzera italiana, Lingua dei Segni Italiana, LIS, LIS-SI

300 (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). 10,000 deaf signers in all of Switzerland (2014 EUD).


Scattered. Ticino and Graub√ľnden cantons.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (2002, Federal Parliament, Law on Equality for Disabled People).


None known. Two main varieties: Lugano, Bellinzona (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). Similar to Italian Sign Language [ise]. Variety used around Bellinzona influenced by sign languages of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, Lithuania and Poland. (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010) Fingerspelling system similar to French Sign Language [fsl].


One-handed fingerspelling.

Language Use

Deaf school has closed (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). Deaf association. Status of signing is increasing. Also use American Sign Language [ase], and other signed and written languages in Switzerland and surrounding countries (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010).

Language Development
TV. Videos. Dictionary. Agencies: Swiss Federation of the Deaf (SGB-FSS); Regionalkomitee Italienische Schweiz.
Other Comments

Taught as L2. 13,000 hearing signers (all three sign languages) in Switzerland, estimate based on participants in sign language classes (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). 7 working sign language interpreters (2014 EUD). Christian.

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