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Rennellese Sign Language
Native to "Solomon Islands
"Extinct ca. 2000
none ("home sign)
Language codes
"ISO 639-3 None (mis)
"Glottolog renn1236[1]

Rennellese Sign Language is an extinct form of "home sign documented from "Rennell Island in 1974.[2] It was developed about 1915 by a deaf person named Kagobai and used by his hearing family and friends, but apparently died with him; he was the only deaf person on the island, and there never was an established, self-replicating community of signers. Accordingly, in January 2017 its ISO 639-3 code [rsi] was retired.[3]


Wittmann (1991)[4] proposed that RSL was a language isolate (a 'prototype' sign language), though one developed through "stimulus diffusion from an existing sign language. However, his classification presupposes that it was a full language, which is almost certainly not the case, and Kuschel[2] (the only source of information about this communication system) cites no evidence to suggest that there was any contact with any sign language.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Rennellese Sign Language". "Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ a b Kuschel, Rolf (1974). A Lexicon of Signs from a Polynesian Outliner Island: A Description of 217 Signs as Developed and Used by Kagobai, the Only Deaf-Mute of Rennell Island (PDF). København: Københavns Universitet. pp. 187 pages. "ISBN "9788750015062. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  3. ^ ISO 639-3 Registration Authority. "Change request documentation for: 2016-002". ISO 639-3. SIL International. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement." Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée 10:1.215–88.[1]
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