.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in Swedish. (January 2015) Click [show] for important translation instructions. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 259 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Swedish Wikipedia article at [[:sv:Svenskt teckenspråk]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|sv|Svenskt teckenspråk)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
Swedish Sign Language
Svenskt Teckenspråk
Native toSweden
Native speakers
8,000 (2021)[1]
Swedish Sign
  • Swedish Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3swl
ELPSwedish Sign Language
Coordinates: 59°21′00″N 18°04′00″E / 59.3500°N 18.0667°E / 59.3500; 18.0667, 64°00′00″N 26°00′00″E / 64.0000°N 26.0000°E / 64.0000; 26.0000
The Swedish Sign Language word for "part-time"

Swedish Sign Language (SSL; Svenskt teckenspråk) is the sign language used in Sweden. It is recognized by the Swedish government as the country's official sign language, and hearing parents of deaf individuals are entitled to access state-sponsored classes that facilitate their learning of SSL.[3] There are fewer than 10,000 speakers, making the language officially endangered.[1]


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Swedish sign language first came into use in 1800. It does not stem from any other languages. In fact, this self-created language went on to influence Finnish Sign Language and Portuguese Sign Language. 1809 marks the year of the first deaf school, Manillaskolan, in Sweden. It was not until 1981 that Swedish Sign Language was recognized as a national language of Sweden.

Swedish Sign Language family tree
Old British Sign Language?
(c. 1760–1900)
Swedish Sign Language
(c. 1800–present)
Portuguese Sign Language
(c. 1820–present)
Finnish Sign Language
(c. 1850–present)
Finland-Swedish Sign Language
(c. 1850–present)
Eritrean Sign Language
(c. 1950–present)


Many of the handshapes used in fingerspelling in Swedish Sign Language are similar to those in American Sign Language, even though the two languages are not related. For example, D is the same as B in ASL, G is the same as S in ASL, H is the same as F in ASL, I is the same in ASL, K is the same in ASL, M and N are very similar in ASL, O is the same in ASL, S is the same as C in ASL, and U, V & W are the same in ASL (but with a different palm orientation).[4]

Swedish Sign Language alphabet (view from speaker)
American Sign Language alphabet (view from listener)

Education and communication

Per the Education Act of 1998, deaf children are expected to be able to write in Swedish and English, in addition to expressing their thoughts in Swedish Sign Language. Thus, six state-run schools (one of which specializes in learning disabilities) have been established regionally for deaf children who cannot attend traditional comprehensive schools. Comprehensive and secondary schools in Sweden offer classes in addition to a one-year program to students to learn Swedish Sign Language as a third national language, as well as in hopes of becoming an interpreter. Interpreters are found in hospitals, and they also teach the language to the parents and siblings of deaf children. Sweden provides 240 hours of courses over four years to parents so that they may learn to communicate with their children. Additionally, weekly courses in the language are also available to the siblings of deaf children and the children of deaf parents.[5]

Expanding the culture of the deaf

Since the recognition of Swedish Sign Language as a national language of Sweden, the Swedish government has made available to deaf individuals television shows and news broadcasts in sign language. Subtitles in sign language are also increasing. On November 29, 2001, the first Bible was translated into Swedish Sign Language. Furthermore, the Health and Medical Service Act (1982) guaranteed interpreters for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in working life, leisure, and club activities.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b Swedish Sign Language at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) closed access
  2. ^ SignPuddle 2.0. Signbank.org. Retrieved on 2013-10-29.
  3. ^ Haualand, Hilde; Holmström, Ingela (21 March 2019). "When language recognition and language shaming go hand in hand – sign language ideologies in Sweden and Norway". Deafness & Education International. 21 (2–3): 107. doi:10.1080/14643154.2018.1562636.
  4. ^ "Swedish Sign Language (TSP)". Start ASL. October 2010. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  5. ^ a b Timmermans, N., & C. (n.d.) (May 1, 2016). The Status of Sign Languages in Europe (PDF). ISBN 978-92-871-5723-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2016. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Further reading