Mongolian Sign Language
Native toMongolia
Native speakers
16,000 (2021)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3msr

Mongolian Sign Language (MSL; Mongolian: Монгол дохионы хэл, Mongol dokhiony khel) is a sign language used in Mongolia. Ethnologue estimates that there are between 9,000 and 15,000 deaf signers in Mongolia as of 2019.[3] Mongolian Sign Language is widely used in areas where the Mongolian diaspora has immigrated. Such locations include California, Houston, and Charleston.[citation needed]

A school for the deaf was established in Mongolia in 1964 with assistance from the Soviet Union. This resulted in many similarities between MSL and Russian Sign Language (RSL) for a time, but the two languages have since developed to be separate and distinct.[4]

Linda Ball, a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia, is believed to have created the first dictionary of MSL in 1995.[5] In 2007, another MSL dictionary with 3,000 entries was published by Mongolia's Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science with assistance from UNESCO.[6]


  1. ^ Mongolian Sign Language at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forke, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2020). "Mongolian Sign Language". Glottolog 4.3.
  3. ^ Mongolian Sign Language at Ethnologue (23rd ed., 2020) Closed access icon
  4. ^ Geer, Leah (2011). "Kinship in Mongolian Sign Language". Sign Language Studies. 11 (4): 594–605. doi:10.1353/sls.2011.0007. ISSN 1533-6263. S2CID 144028961.
  5. ^ Peace Corps Times 1995, p. 6
  6. ^ Torigoe 2008, p. 286


Further reading