Finland-Swedish Sign Language

Finland-Swedish Sign Language
finlandssvenskt teckenspråk (Swedish)
suomenruotsalainen viittomakieli (Finnish)
Native to Finland
Ethnicity Finland-Swedes
Native speakers
150 deaf and 300 total (2014)[1]
Same figure of 150 cited in 2001[2]
? British Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3 fss
Glottolog finl1235[3]

Finland-Swedish Sign Language (FinSSL) is a moribund Deaf sign language in Finland. It is now used only in private settings by older adults who attended the only Swedish school for the deaf in Finland (in Porvoo/Borgå), which was established in the mid 19th century but closed in 1993. Some 90 persons have it as their native language.[4] FinSSL is said to be a distinct language; however, "Finland-Swedish Deaf have few problems understanding Finnish signers".[5] There had been, moreover, continuous input from Swedish Sign Language over its history.


  1. Finland-Swedish Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Finland-Swedish Sign Language at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Finland-Swedish Sign Language". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. Westerlund, Elin (3 August 2018). "Det finlandssvenska teckenspråket är utrotningshotad". Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish). pp. 8–11.
  5. Londen, Monica (2004). Communicational and educational choices for minorities within minorities: The case of the Finland-Swedish deaf (PDF). Helsinki University Press. ISBN 952-10-0812-1. Retrieved 15 February 2015.

Further reading

  • Hoyer, Karin (2012). Dokumentation och beskrivning som språkplanering: Perspektiv från arbete med tre tecknade minoritetsspråk [Language Documentation and Description as Language Planning: Working with Three Signed Minority Languages] (Ph.D. thesis). Nordica Helsingiensia, 29 (in Swedish). Helsingfors: Helsingfors universitet. ISBN 978-952-10-7611-4. ISSN 1795-4428. Lay summary. 

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