Dutch Sign Language

Dutch Sign Language
Sign Language of the Netherlands (SLN)
Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT)
Native to Netherlands
Native speakers
7,500 (2014)[1]
French Sign
  • Dutch Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 dse
Glottolog dutc1253[2]

Dutch Sign Language (Dutch: Nederlandse Gebarentaal or NGT; Sign Language of the Netherlands or SLN) is the sign language used by deaf people in the Netherlands and is not officially recognized. As of 1995, more and more schools for the deaf in The Netherlands teach Signed Dutch (Nederlands met Gebaren). This uses the grammar of Dutch rather than NGT.

NGT is not the same as Flemish Sign Language, and may not even be related to it.


There are currently five schools for deaf children in the country, with the first being built at the end of the 18th century and the rest between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. While the first school used a manual method to teach the language, signing was originally prohibited in each of the latter schools and they instead tended to use an oral method of teaching. Today, because of cochlear implants, education is consistently leaning towards oralist methods.

See also


  1. Dutch Sign Language at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Dutch Sign Language". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • "Did You Know Dutch Sign Language Is Vulnerable?" Endangered Languages. N.p., n.d. Web.
  • Kimmelman, V. (2014). Information structure in Russian Sign Language and Sign Language of the Netherlands (Unpublished master's thesis, 2014). Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC).

Further reading

  • Bank, R., Crasborn, O., & van Hout, R. (2011). Variation in mouth actions with manual signs in Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). Sign Language & Linguistics, 14(2), 248-270.
  • Crasborn, O., van der Kooij, E., Ros, J., & de Hoop, H. (2009). Topic agreement in NGT (Sign Language of the Netherlands). Linguistic Review, 26(2/3), 355-370. doi:10.1515/tlir.2009.013
  • Crasborn, O., van der Kooij, E., Waters, D., Woll, B., & Mesch, J. (2008). Frequency distribution and spreading behavior of different types of mouth actions in three sign languages. Sign Language & Linguistics, 11(1), 45-67.
  • De Clerck, L., & van der Kooij, E. (2005). Modifiable and intensifier self in Dutch and Sign Language of the Netherlands. Linguistics In The Netherlands, 2261-72.
  • Sandler, W., & Lillo-Martin, D. (2006). Sign language and linguistic universals. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Schermer, T. (2012). Sign Language Planning in the Netherlands between 1980 and 2010. Sign Language Studies, 12(4), 467-493.
  • Zwets, M. (2014). Locating the difference: A comparison between Dutch pointing gestures and pointing signs in Sign Language of the Netherlands (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Proefschrift Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen ter verkrijging van de graad van doctor in het jaar.
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