Swiss-German Sign Language
|Swiss-German Sign Language|
|Native to||Switzerland, Liechtenstein|
(an estimated 5,500 deaf lived in German-speaking cantons in 2011)
possibly French SL
Swiss-German Sign Language (German: Deutschschweizer Gebärdensprache, abbreviated DSGS) is the primary deaf sign language of the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The language was established around 1828. In 2011 it was estimated that 7,500 deaf and 13,000 hearing people use DSGS. There are six dialects which developed in boarding schools for the deaf, in Zurich, Bernese, Basel, Lucerne, and St. Gallen, as well as in Liechtenstein.
In Switzerland, the language is called Gebärdensprache (Sign language) if a distinction from other languages is not required. In some sources it's called Natürliche Gebärden or Natürliche Gebärdensprache, or Swiss Sign Language (Langage gestuel suisse). The former just means 'natural sign', like those for "sleep" or "eat", in contrast to Abstrakte Gebärden 'conceptual sign', and this term is therefore no longer used. Most English sources today uses the term German-Swiss Sign Language or Swiss-German Sign Language.
Wittmann (1991) suspects that Swiss-German Sign Language may be part of the French Sign Language family, but it is not close and this is not easy to demonstrate.
In Switzerland, the parentage of this language is still in research. A research, if DSGS could be a derivat of the German Sign Language (DGS) is planned, but it was observed, DSGS signers often are more open for borrowing loan signs from LSF-SR, the French Sign Language dialect of the Suisse Romande, and less from the DGS.
Two books have been published in SignWriting.
- Swiss Deaf Federation: Web dictionary of the Swiss German Sign Language
- Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik: Business dictionary of the Swiss German Sign Language
- Braem, Penny Boyes: Gebärdenspracharbeit in der Schweiz: Rückblick und Ausblick, Hamburg: Zeitschrift für Sprache und Kultur Gehörloser
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Swiss-German Sign Language". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement." Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée 10:1.215–88.
- Swiss-German Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Deutsche Hörbehinderten Selbsthilfe e.v.: Gebärdensprache
- IANA: Language tag assignment for German Swiss Sign Language
- Center for sign language research: Bibliography