Spanish Sign Language


A language of Spain

Alternate Names
Lengua de Señas Española, Lengua de Signos Española, LSE, Mímica

45,000 (1994). Deaf sign language users, total for all three sign languages in Spain: 60,000–80,000 (2000 Instituto Nacional de Estadística), 100,000 (2014 EUD). Based on these numbers and proportions of total population in various regions in Spain, estimated 45,000–75,000 for LSE.


Scattered, except for Catalonia and Valencia.

Language Status

5 (Developing). Recognized language (2007, Law 27, Official language of deaf community).


Significant regional variation but with only minor difficulties in intercommunication. About 70–80% intelligibility by users of Catalan Sign Language [csc] and 80% intelligibility by users of Valencian Sign Language [vsv]. There may have been some early influence from French Sign Language [fsl]. (2014 S. Parkhurst). Fingerspelling system similar to French Sign Language [fsl].


One-handed fingerspelling.

Language Use

Deaf schools in the past. Most deaf children now integrated in hearing schools. Deaf associations. Interpreters used in court and important public events. Deaf who have travelled tend to understand the other sign languages in Spain but use their own. (2014 S. Parkhurst).

Language Development
Theater. Films. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible portions: 2007–2014.
Other Comments

Many sign language classes for hearing people. Materials for learning as L2. Few parents actually learn to sign. (2014 S. Parkhurst). Christian (Roman Catholic), Christian (Protestant).