Thai Sign Language


A language of Thailand

Alternate Names
Modern Standard Thai Sign Language, MSTSL, ThSL, TSL

51,000 profoundly, prelingually deaf people in Thailand (1997 C. Reilly). 20% of deaf children go to school to learn it.


Scattered. Major regional centers and Bangkok.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


None known. Signs used at the deaf school at Tak are reportedly very different.


Finger-spelling system.

Language Use

Total communication used in school: speaking and signing. Reported high mobility among most deaf people today. Sign language used in school and that used by deaf adults outside is different. Used by all deaf born since 1951; some older ones. Also use Thai [tha]. Used as L2 by Chiangmai Sign Language [csd].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: Less than 10%. The first deaf school began in 1951, with help from Gallaudet University. Uses a combination of indigenous signs and American Sign Language [ase]. Educated deaf people have limited Thai literacy skills. Taught in primary schools. TV. Dictionary.
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