Tanzanian Sign Language


A language of Tanzania

Alternate Names
Lugha ya Alama ya Tanzania

278,000 (2008 WFD). 278,000 deaf signers (2008 WFD).


Scattered, mainly in urban areas.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


None known. The sign language in the Moshi-Kilimanjaro region is significantly different, to a degree yet to be determined. Distinct from sign languages in surrounding countries.

Language Use

All domains. Used by all.

Language Development

Primary schools for deaf children since 1963. About 5% of deaf children attend school. Dictionary. Bible portions: 2011–2014. Agency: Tanzania Association of the Deaf.


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

Other Comments

Historically, schools for the deaf used different sign languages, and some schools teach only speech and lip-reading. More recently, Tanzanian Sign Language was standardized by the Tanzania Association for the Deaf which is attempting to use it in most schools for the deaf.

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