West Bengal Sign Language


A language of India

Alternate Names
Kolkata Sign Language, W.B. Sign Language, WBSL

37,000 (2016 R. Johnson).


West Bengal state: scattered.

Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


None known. Most similar to Indian Sign Language [ins], and especially close to the ISL variety called Bangla Sign Language in Bangladesh, which on some criteria might be considered the same language as WBSL (Johnson and Johnson 2016). Related to other sign languages in south Asia; see comments on Indian Sign Language [ins] in India.

Language Use

All domains. Used by all.

Language Development

Videos. Dictionary.


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

Other Comments

Apparently originated in Calcutta Deaf and Dumb School founded in 1893, then spread to as many as 7 deaf schools in West Bengal and East Bengal (now Bangladesh) by 1932. Some variation among 14 or more current schools, plus borrowing from other regions in India (Johnson and Johnson 2016).

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