Yolngu Sign Language


A language of Australia

Alternate Names
Hands in action, Yolŋu Sign Language

5,000 (2012 D. Adone). Of these, about 40–50 are deaf (Adone et al 2012).


Northern Territory: Arnhem Land region, Elcho and Milingimbi islands, Ramingining, Yirrkala, and Waraga.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a* (Vigorous).


None known. Not a signed version of any of the surrounding Yolngu languages, but independent (Adone et al 2012).

Language Use

Used both by deaf and by hearing who speak a variety of Yolngu languages. Every child acquires signs from birth (Adone et al 2012). Nearly all domains by deaf; as an alternate language by hearing when at a distance, hunting, or when silence is required for ceremonies or in the proximity of sacred objects (Adone et al 2012). Many also use Djambarrpuyngu [djr] (Adone et al 2012).

Language Development



Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

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