Ban Khor Sign Language
Native toThailand
Native speakers
400 (2009)[1]
sign language
Language codes
ISO 639-3bfk
ELPBan Khor Sign Language

Ban Khor Sign Language (BKSL) is a village sign language used by at least 400 people of a rice-farming community in the village of Ban Khor in a remote area of Isan (northeastern Thailand).[2][3][4] Known locally as pasa kidd ('language of the mute'), it developed in the 1930s due to a high number of deaf people. Estimated number of users in 2009 was 16 deaf and approximately 400 hearing out of 2741 villagers.[3] It is a language isolate, independent of the other sign languages of Thailand such as Old Bangkok Sign Language and the national Thai Sign Language.[4]

Thai Sign Language is increasingly exerting an influence on BKSL. Younger Deaf attend distant residential Deaf schools where they learn Thai Sign Language. Even middle-aged hearing people are using Thai SL vocabulary mixed with BKSL. Attitudes favoring Thai SL over BKSL are beginning to be expressed.[4]

Other local sign languages

Other village sign languages have been reported from the Ban Khor area, in the villages of Plaa Pag, Huay Hai and Na Sai. They have not been documented, so it is not known if they are dialects of BKSL or if they are distinct languages.[5][2]


  1. ^ Ban Khor Sign Language at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b Nonaka, Angela M. (2004). "The forgotten endangered languages: Lessons on the importance of remembering from Thailand's Ban Khor Sign Language". Language in Society. 33 (5): 737–768. doi:10.1017/s004740450404504x. S2CID 145520563.
  3. ^ a b Nonaka, Angela M. (2009). "Estimating size, scope, and membership of the speech/sign communities of undocumented indigenous/village sign languages: The Ban Khor case study". Language & Communication. 29 (3): 210–229. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2009.02.004.
  4. ^ a b c Nonaka, Angela M. (2014). "(Almost) everyone here spoke Ban Khor Sign Language—Until they started using TSL: Language shift and endangerment of a Thai village sign language". Language & Communication. 38: 54–72. doi:10.1016/j.langcom.2014.05.005.
  5. ^ Hurlbut, Hope M. (2009). "Thai signed languages survey—A rapid appraisal". SIL Electronic Survey Reports (2009–016): 7. Retrieved 2015-11-23.