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Philippine Sign Language
Filipino Sign Language
Native to "Philippines
Native speakers

(approximately 121,000 Deaf people living in the Philippines as of 2000[1])
"French Sign
Language codes
"ISO 639-3 psp
"Glottolog phil1239[2]

Philippine Sign Language, or Filipino Sign Language (FSL), is the national deaf "sign language of the Philippines.[2] Like other "sign languages, FSL is a unique "language with its own "grammar, "syntax and "morphology; it is neither based on nor resembles Filipino or English.[3] Some researchers consider the indigenous signs of FSL to be at risk of being lost due to the increasing influence of foreign sign languages such as ASL.[3]


ASL influence[edit]

FSL is believed to be part of the "French Sign Language family.[4] It has been strongly influenced by "American Sign Language since the establishment in 1907 of the School for the Deaf and Blind (SDB) (now the Philippine School for the Deaf) by Delia Delight Rice (1883-1964), an "American "Thomasite teacher born to deaf parents.[5] The school was run and managed by American principals until the 1940s. In the 1960s, contact with American Sign Language continued through the launching of the Deaf Evangelistic Alliance Foundation and the Laguna Christian College for the Deaf. Another source of ASL influence was the assignment of volunteers from the United States "Peace Corps, who were stationed at various places in the Philippines from 1974 through 1989, as well as religious organizations that promoted ASL and "Manually Coded English.[6] Starting in 1982, the "International Deaf Education Association (IDEA), led by former Peace Corps volunteer G. Dennis Drake, established a series of residential elementary programs in "Bohol using Philippine Sign Language as the primary language of instruction.[7][8] The "Bohol Deaf Academy also primarily emphasizes Philippine Sign Language.[9]

According to sign language researcher Dr. Lisa Martinez, FSL and ASL deviate across three important metrics: different overall form (especially a differing "handshape inventory), different methods of sign formation, and different grammar.[3]


Usage of Filipino Sign Language was reported in 2009 as being used by 54% of sign-language users in the Philippines.[10] In 2011, the "Department of Education declared "Signing Exact English the language of deaf education in the Philippines.[11] In 2011, Department of Education officials announced in a forum that hearing-impaired children were being taught and would continue to be taught using "Signing Exact English (SEE) instead of Filipino Sign Language (FSL).[12] In 2012, House Bill No. 450 was introduced in the "Philippine House of Representatives to declare FSL as the National Sign Language of the Philippines and to mandate its use as the medium of official communication in all transactions involving the deaf and the language of instruction of deaf education.[11] As of May 2014, that bill was pending with the Committee on Social Services.[13]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Philippines". Programs. discoveringdeafworlds.org. 
  2. ^ a b Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Philippine Sign Language". "Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ a b c Martinez, PhD, Liza (2012-12-01). "Primer on Filipino Sign Language". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  4. ^ "Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement." Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée 10:1.215–88.[1]
  5. ^ A century of absolute commitment - The Manila Times Internet Edition (archived from the original on 2007-02-25)
  6. ^ Abat, Rafaelito M., and Liza B. Martinez. The History of Sign Language in the Philippines: Piecing Together the Puzzle, Philippine Federation of the Deaf / Philippine Deaf Resource Center, Philippine Linguistics Congress, Department of Linguistics, University of the Philippines, January 25-27, 2006, 8 pages (PDF), retrieved on: March 25, 2008 (archived from the original on 2011-07-28)
  7. ^ Education, July 17, 2012, International Deaf Education Association, retrieved on August 25, 2014.
  8. ^ The Founder And History, August 16, 2012, International Deaf Education Association, retrieved on August 25, 2014.
  9. ^ Academics, Bohol Deaf Academy, retrieved on August 25, 2014.
  10. ^ Calls made for a national language for the deaf - The Carillon (archived from the original on 2012-03-25)
  11. ^ a b House Bill No. 450 : Explanatory Note, Congress of the Philippines, July 1, 2013.
  12. ^ The right of the deaf to their language, Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 16, 2011.
  13. ^ Hon. Tinio, Antonio L : HOUSE MEASURES SPONSORED/AUTHORED, Retrieved on 2014-05-29.
  14. ^ First Ever Filipino Sign Language Interpretation of Rizal's Poem - Mirana Medina, Filmmaker
  15. ^ Philippine National Anthem in Sign Language - Planet Eye Traveler
  16. ^ Filipino Filmmaker Showcases Deaf Community - Mirana Medina, Filmmaker
  17. ^ Filipino Sign Language (in "Filipino), GMANews TV Documentary Report

External links[edit]

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