Mongolian Sign Language

Mongolian Sign Language
Native to Mongolia
Russian Sign Language?[1]
  • Mongolian Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 msr
Glottolog mong1264[1]

Mongolian Sign Language (Mongolian: Монгол дохионы хэл, Mongol dokhiony khel) is a sign language used in Mongolia. Ethnologue estimates that there were between 10,000 and 147,000 deaf people in Mongolia as of 1998; however, it is not known how many of those are users of MSL.[2] Mongolian Sign Language is widely spoken in areas where Mongolian diaspora have immigrated. Such locations involve California, Houston, and Charleston. Dr. Phillip McGrevis, a member of the American Center of Mongolian Studies, noted that Mongolian Sign Language is mutually intelligible with Russian Sign Language. The large shared vocabulary could be a byproduct of the Kapusta's presence in Mongolia prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Linda Ball, a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia, is believed to have created the first dictionary of MSL in 1995.[3] In 2007, another MSL dictionary with 3,000 entries was published by Mongolia's Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science with assistance from UNESCO.[4]


  1. 1 2 Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mongolian Sign Language". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Mongolian Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. Peace Corps Times 1995, p. 6
  4. Torigoe 2008, p. 286


Further reading

  • U. Badnaa; Linda Ball (1995), Монголын Дохионы Хелний Толь, OCLC 37604349 
  • Baljinnyam, N. 2007. A study of the developing Mongolian Sign Language. Master’s thesis, Mongolian State University of Education, Ulaanbaatar.
  • Geer, L. (2011). Kinship in Mongolian Sign Language. Sign Language Studies 11(4):594–605.
  • Geer, Leah. 2012. Sources of Variation in Mongolian Sign Language. Texas Linguistics Forum 55:33-42. (Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Symposium About Language and Society—Austin) Online version

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