Cambodian Sign Language
Native toCambodia
RegionPhnom Penh
Native speakers
7,500 (2015)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3csx
ELPCambodian Sign Language

Cambodian Sign Language (CBDSL) is an indigenous deaf sign language of Cambodia.


Little is known of the language situation prior to the first Cambodian school for the deaf being established in the capital of Phnom Penh in 1997. Although the language of education is American Sign Language, modified to follow Khmer word order, the Deaf community of Phnom Penh has developed their language with the support of the Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme.[2]


CBDSL shares about 40% of basic vocabulary with Modern Thai Sign Language (MTSL). What intelligibility there is with American Sign Language, apart from iconic elements, is due to vocabulary that is shared among CBDSL, MTSL and ASL. No connection with other languages of neighboring countries has been noted.[3]


  1. ^ Cambodian Sign Language at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Cambodian Sign Language Production Team (2010) Cambodian Sign Language: English and English – Cambodian Sign Language Dictionary. Hong Kong: Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies.
  3. ^ Woodward, Bradford, Sokchea & Samath (2015) Cambodian Sign Language. In Jepsen et al. (eds.) Sign Languages of the World: A Comparative Handbook, pp. 159–176. De Gruyter Mouton and Ishara Press.

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