Swedish Sign Language family

Swedish Sign Language
Linguistic classification:

? British Sign

  • Swedish Sign Language
Glottolog: swed1257[1]

The Swedish Sign Language family is a language family of sign languages, including Swedish Sign Language, Portuguese Sign Language, and Finnish Sign Language.

Swedish SL started about 1800. Wittmann (1991)[2] proposes that it descends from British Sign Language. However, other sources[3] state that Swedish SL has no known predecessor. Regardless, Swedish SL in turn gave rise to Portuguese Sign Language (1823) and Finnish Sign Language (1850s), the latter with local admixture; Finnish and Swedish Sign are mutually unintelligible.

Ethnologue reports that Danish Sign Language is largely mutually intelligible with Swedish Sign, though Wittmann places DSL in the French Sign Language family.


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Swedish Sign". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement." Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée 10:1.215–88.
  3. Ethnologue, Swedish Sign Language

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