Finnish Sign Language

Finnish Sign Language
Suomalainen viittomakieli
Native to Finland
Native speakers
5,000 deaf and 15,000 total (2006)[1]
the same figure of 5,000 was cited in 1986[2]
? British Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3 fse
Glottolog finn1310[3]

Finnish Sign Language (suomalainen viittomakieli in Finnish) is the sign language most commonly used in Finland. There are 5000 (estimate) Finnish deaf who have Finnish Sign Language as a mother tongue. Linguistically Finnish Sign Language is closest to Swedish Sign Language, from which it began to separate as an independent language in the middle of the 19th century.

Finnish legislation recognized Finnish Sign Language as one of Finland's domestic languages in 1995 when it was included in the renewed constitution. Finland then became the third country in the world to recognize a sign language as a natural language and the right to use it as a mother tongue.

Courses in "sign language" have been taught in Finland since the 1960s. At that time, instruction taught signs but followed Finnish word order (see Manually Coded Language). Later, as research on sign languages in general and Finnish Sign Language in particular determined that sign languages tend to have a very different grammar from oral languages, the teaching of Finnish Sign Language and Signed Finnish diverged.


  1. Finnish Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Finnish Sign Language at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Finnish Sign Language". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.