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Korean Sign Language

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Title: Korean Sign Language  
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Subject: Japanese Sign Language family, Burmese sign language, Taiwanese Sign Language, Kenyan Sign Language, Sign language
Collection: Japanese Sign Language Family, Languages of Korea
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Korean Sign Language

Korean Sign Language
Native to South Korea
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Japanese Sign
  • Korean Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 kvk
Glottolog kore1273[1]

Korean Sign Language or KSL (Korean: 手話 수화 Suhwa) is the deaf sign language of Korea.[2]


  • 1889 1
  • Commonality 2
  • Deaf 3
  • Functional markers 4
  • See also 5
  • Dictionary 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8


The beginnings of KSL date from 1889.[3] The first primary school for deaf children, opened in 1908, used KSL.


Although the origins of KSL predate the colonial period, the sign language developed some features in common with Japanese Sign Language (JSL) grammar.[3] KSL is considered part of the Japanese Sign Language family.[4]


180,000 to 300,00 in South Korea

Functional markers

KSL, like other sign languages, incorporates non-manual markers with lexical, syntactic, discourse, and affective functions. These include brow raising and furrowing, frowning, head shaking and nodding, and leaning and shifting the torso.[5]

See also


Korean Sign Language Dictionary (Korean)


  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Korean Sign Language". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ KSL is currently used in South Korea; however, the situation in North Korea is unknown.
  3. ^ a b Fischer, Susan et al. (2010). "Variation in East Asian Sign Language Structures" in p. 501.Sign Languages, , p. 501, at Google Books
  4. ^ Fischer, p. 499., p. 499, at Google Books
  5. ^ Fischer, p. 507., p. 507, at Google Books


  • Brentari, Diane. (2010). Sign Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 13-ISBN 9780521883702/10-ISBN 0521883709; OCLC 428024472
  • Wittmann, Henri (1991). "Classification linguistique des langues signées non vocalement," Revue québécoise de linguistique théorique et appliquée. Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 215–288, 283.

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