Bulgarian Sign Language
Native toBulgaria
Native speakers
21,000 (2021 DBS/DOOR/SIL)[1] (2014)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3bqn

Bulgarian Sign Language (in Bulgarian: "български жестомимичен език (БЖЕ)") is the language, or perhaps languages, of the deaf community in Bulgaria.

Primary schools were established for the deaf. Russian Sign Language was introduced in 1910, and allowed in the classroom in 1945, and Wittmann (1991) classifies it as a descendant of Russian Sign.[3] However, Bickford (2005) found that Bulgarian Sign formed a cluster with Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, and Polish Sign.[4] The language of the classroom is different from that used by adults outside,[2] and it is not clear if Wittmann and Bickford looked at the same language; nor, if one is derived from Russian Sign, if it is a dialect or if it creolized to form a new language.


  1. ^ Bulgarian Sign Language at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b Bulgarian Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  3. ^ Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement." Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée 10:1.215–88.[1]
  4. ^ Bickford, 2005. The Signed Languages of Eastern Europe