Thai Sign Language

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A language of Thailand

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

L1 users: 51,000 profoundly, prelingually deaf people in Thailand (1997 C. Reilly). 20% of deaf children go to school to learn it.

Location

Scattered. Major regional centers and Bangkok.

Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

None known. Signs used at the deaf school at Tak are reportedly very different. 52% cognate with American Sign Language (ASL) [ase] on a 100-word list; 29% with Original Chiangmai SL [csd]; 26% with Original Bangkok Sign Language (no ISO code) (Woodward 1997).

Typology

Finger-spelling system.

Language Use

Vigorous. Total communication (simultaneous speech and signing) in schools, thus different from what is used by deaf adults outside. Reported high mobility among most deaf people today. All ages. Also use Thai [tha]. Used as L2 by Ban Khor Sign Language [bfk], 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. Educated deaf people have limited Thai literacy skills. Taught in primary schools. TV. Dictionary.
Other Comments

Formed from a blend of American Sign Language (ASL) [ase] and indigenous sign varieties present prior to introduction of ASL in the 1950s, including varieties in Bangkok and Chiangmai (Woodward 1997). Buddhist.

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