Croatian Sign Language
Hrvatski znakovni jezik
Native toCroatia
Native speakers
6,500 (2019)[1]
out of 20,000 deaf[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3csq

Croatian sign language (Hrvatski znakovni jezik, HZJ[2][3]) is a sign language of the deaf community in Croatia.[4][5] It has in the past been regarded as a dialect of Yugoslav Sign Language, although the dialectical diversity of the former Yugoslavia has not been assessed.[6]

The first school for the deaf in Croatia was formed in Zagreb in 1885.[7] The Sign Language and Deaf Culture conference was held in Zagreb, Croatia from May 3–5, 2001.[8] In 2004, a project to establish a grammar of HZJ was started by researchers at Purdue University and the University of Zagreb.[9]

By law Croatian Radiotelevision is to promote the translation of programs into HZJ.[10] Major centres of education in HZJ are found in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, and Osijek.[11]

Organizations for the deaf in Croatia include the Croatian Association of Deafblind Persons DODIR, which was established in 1994.[12]

The basic word order in HZJ is subject–verb–object (SVO), as it is in spoken Croatian.[13] A two-handed manual alphabet is in widespread use; a one-handed alphabet based on the international manual alphabet, though less commonly used, has official status.[6][14][15]


  1. ^ a b Croatian Sign Language at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Diane Brentari, Sign Languages, Cambridge University Press, 2010. (p.xix)
  3. ^ Herbert L. Colston, Albert N. Katz; Figurative language comprehension, Routledge, 2005. (p.316)
  4. ^ Croatian Sign Language, Ethnologue
  5. ^ Zakon o uporabi znakovnog jezika u Bosnia i Hercegovini
  6. ^ a b Bickford, J. Albert (2005) The Signed Languages of Eastern Europe, archived on Wayback Machine, 5 March 2016
  7. ^ Croatia profile Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine, The European Union of the Deaf
  8. ^ Cynthia J. Kellett Bidoli, Elana Ochse; English in International Deaf Communication, Peter Lang, 2008. (p.347)
  9. ^ A Basic Grammar of Croatian Sign Language Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Zakon o Hrvatskoj Radioteleviziji". Archived from the original on 2018-02-03. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  11. ^ "Tečaj HZJ". Archived from the original on 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2011-02-24.
  12. ^ "Croatian Association of Deafblind Persons DODIR" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-07-02. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
  13. ^ Information status and word order in Croatian Sign Language, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, November–December 2007; 21(11–12): 1007–1017.
  14. ^ "Single-handed alphabet". Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
  15. ^ "Jednoručna abeceda". Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2011-02-25.