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Tibetan Sign Language

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Title: Tibetan Sign Language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Deaf-community sign language, Chinese Sign Language, Tibet, Mulam language, Languages of China
Collection: Languages of Tibet, Sign Language Isolates
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tibetan Sign Language

Standard Tibetan Sign
Native to China
Region Tibet, especially Lhasa
Native speakers
(this article does not contain any information regarding the number of speakers)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

Tibetan Sign Language is the recently established deaf sign language of Tibet.

Tibetan Sign is the first recognized sign language for a minority in China. The Tibetan Sign Language Project, staffed by members of the local deaf club, was set up under the supervision of Handicap International in 2001 to create a standardized language, based primarily on the existing sign language of Lhasa, as a replacement for the regional sign languages of Tibet.[1][2] For example, the deaf of Nagqu have a well developed vocabulary for livestock, while those of Lhasa have more specialized vocabulary for urban life.[2] The standard was announced by the Chinese government in 2004.

Xinhua explained that Chinese Sign Language was not practical because deaf Tibetans do not know Chinese characters, and that club members will introduce the new standard throughout Tibet.[3] A Tibetan manual alphabet was created by club members from the Tibetan alphabet without exposure to foreign forms of fingerspelling.[2]


  1. ^ Meeting Deaf Tibetans on
  2. ^ a b c Sign Language Benefits Tibetan Deaf-mutes, China Human Rights
  3. ^ Sign language developed for Tibetan deaf, 21 May 2004
  • The Tibetan Sign Language Project of the Tibetan Deaf Association (archived 2009)
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