Romance Sign Languages
Catalonian Sign Language. Deaf sign language. An indigenous sign language, quite distinct from Spanish Sign Language. About 50% intelligibility by users of Spanish Sign Language. Survey needed.

French Sign Language (Langue Des Signes Francaise, LSF) Users: 50,000 to 100,000 primary users in France (1986 Gallaudet Univ.) 1,000 users of Marseille Sign Language (1975 Sallagoity). Southern FSL is used in Marseille, Toulon, La Ciotat, and Salon de Provence. FSL is also in Togo. Deaf sign language. Dialect: Marseille Sign Language (Southern French Sign Language). First sign language in the western world to gain recognition as a language (1830). Originated in 1752. Sign languages were known in France in the 16th century, and probably earlier. Many sign languages have been influenced by this, but are not necessarily intelligible with it. Reported to be partially intelligible with sign languages from Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Italy, at least. 43% lexical similarity with American Sign Language in an 872-word list. Distinct from Signed French and Old French Sign Language.

Italian Sign Language (Lingua Italiana Dei Segni, LIS). Deaf sign language. Partially intelligible with French Sign Language. Not intelligible with American Sign Language. Regional differences, but signers from different regions seem to communicate fluently. Used in families, clubs, and schools outside the classroom, but not in the classroom.

Lyons Sign Language. Deaf sign language. 250 miles from Paris, but difficult and little intelligibility with French Sign Language. Survey needed.

Portuguese Sign Language (Lingua Gestual Portuguesa). Deaf sign language. (Used by a considerable portion of the 8,000 deaf persons; 1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Dialects: Lisbon, Oporto. Not derived from Portuguese. Different dialects in 2 different deaf schools in Lisbon and Oporto. Related to Swedish Sign Language. Signed Portuguese has similar signs to Signed Swedish. It began in 1823.

Romanian Sign Language. Deaf sign language. Survey needed.

Spanish Sign Language (Mimica). Deaf sign language. Users: 120,000 (1994); 20,000 members of deaf associations (1986 Gallaudet Univ.). Small differences throughout Spain with no difficulties in intercommunication, except in Catalonia. Origin unknown, but it is reported that there are influences from American, French, and Mexican sign languages. Some signed interpretation used in court, at important public events. There is sign language instruction for parents of deaf children. Many sign language classes for hearing people. Some use on TV. There is a committee on national sign language. There is a manual system for spelling. Dictionary. Films, video. 20% to 30% literate in Spanish. Work in progress.

Introductary Survey TOC
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