Swiss-French Sign Language


A language of Switzerland

Alternate Names
Langage Gestuelle, Langue des signes française, Langue des signes suisse romande, LSF, LSF-SR

1,700 (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). 10,000 deaf signers in all of Switzerland (2014 EUD).


Scattered. Geneva and Vaud cantons; Neuchâtel canton: La Chaux-de-Fonds; Fribourg canton: Zion, Delémont, Morges, and Oron.

Language Status

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


Regional lexical variation tied to specific schools: Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, Fribourg and Sion (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). Similar to French Sign Language [fsl] (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). Local Swiss signs and imported French signs. Fingerspelling system similar to French Sign Language.


One-handed fingerspelling.

Language Use

Taught in Deaf schools. Deaf associations. Positive attitudes. Also use French [fra] (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010), International Sign [ils]. Also use American Sign Language [ase], and other signed and written languages in Switzerland and surrounding countries.

Language Development
Bilingual education with French [fra] in Geneva, Fribourg and Lausanne (Boyes Braem and Rathmann 2010). Poetry. Theater. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Agencies: Swiss Federation of the Deaf (SGB-FSS); Regionalkomitee Romandie.
Other Comments

French Sign Language [fsl] is used some in the French areas. 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). 30 working sign language interpreters (2014 EUD). Christian.

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