Norwegian Sign Language
Norsk tegnspråk
Native toNorway
Native speakers
2,500 (2014)[1]
French Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3
nsl – Norwegian SL
ELPNorwegian Sign Language

Norwegian Sign Language, or NSL (Norwegian Bokmål: norsk tegnspråk or Nynorsk: norsk teiknspråk, NTS), is the principal sign language in Norway. There are many sign language organizations and some television programs broadcast in NSL in Norway. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation airs Nyheter på tegnspråk (News in Sign Language) daily and Tid for tegn (Time for Signs) weekly.

NSL is an official language as of 1 January 2022.[2]

Relation to Malagasy Sign Language

The language is sometimes reported to be similar, or even identical to the sign language used in Madagascar.[3] In fact, while Norwegian Sign Language may have influenced Malagasy sign language via the creation of schools for the deaf by Norwegian Lutheran missionaries, the languages are quite distinct. Out of a sample of 96 sign pairs, 18 pairs were identical between the two languages, 26 showed some level of similarity, and 52 appeared completely unrelated. It is not yet known to what degree the similarities are a result of direct borrowing, borrowing from a common source language (such as ASL or International Sign), mimesis of the thing they refer to, or sheer coincidence.[4]

Danish Sign Language family tree
French Sign
(c. 1760–present)
local/home sign
Danish Sign
(c. 1800–present)
Faroese Sign
(c. 1960–present)
Greenlandic Sign
(c. 1950–present)
Icelandic Sign
(c. 1910–present)
Norwegian Sign
(c. 1820–present)
Malagasy Sign
(c. 1950–present)

See also


  1. ^ Norwegian SL at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019) Closed access icon
  2. ^ "Offisielt frå statsrådet 21. mai 2021". (in Norwegian). 21 May 2021. The seventh paragraph under "2. Sanksjonar og iverksetjingar". Archived from the original on 2021-05-21. Retrieved 2022-01-17.
  3. ^ Malagasy Sign Language, Ethnologue
  4. ^ Minoura, Nobukatsu (31 July 2014). "A Preliminary Comparative Study of Norwegian Sign Language and Malagasy Sign Language" (PDF). 東京外国語大学論集 [Area and Culture Studies]. 88: 91–116. ISSN 0493-4342. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 August 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2023.