What is Singapore Sign Language?

Sign language is a visual-manual mode of communication that has its own grammar and linguistic structure which is different from those of spoken languages.

It is not a visual representation of spoken language and does not relate grammatically to any spoken language. It also does not refer to miming or gestures alone, though it does incorporate these.

Sign language is a language natural to Deaf people and is important to their self identity.

Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) is Singapore’s native sign language that has developed over the last 6 decades since the setting up of the first school for the Deaf in 1954.

It is influenced by:

  • Shanghainese Sign Language

  • American Sign Language

  • Signing Exact English

  • Locally developed signs.

SgSL is socially recognised and accepted by the Deaf community in Singapore and is a reflection of Singapore’s diverse linguistic culture.