Namibian Sign Language
Native toNamibia, Angola
Native speakers
8,000 (2008)[1]
Paget Gorman
  • Namibian Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3nbs

Namibian Sign Language (commonly abbreviated as NSL) [2] is a sign language of Namibia and Angola. It is presumed that there are other sign languages in these countries.

The first school for the deaf was at Engela, and was established c. 1970 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The first teachers were black Namibians trained in South Africa, and used the Paget Gorman Sign System with Ovambo grammar. Students used the PGSS signs, but developed their own grammar.

In 1975 the South African government started a new school for the deaf at Eluwa. All children under 17 attending Engela were moved to Eluwa, and took their language with them. The Namibian exile community in Angola included a number of students from these schools, and in 1982 a school for the deaf was set up for them in Angola, where they taught NSL to new students.

A speaker of Namibian Sign Language.


  1. ^ Namibian Sign Language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "Human Rights in Human Development Co-operation:A Review on Whether the Icelandic International Development Agency Improves Human Rights in Namibia - Skemman" (PDF). Skemman. May 8, 2008.