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Providence Island Sign Language: Wikis


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Providence Island Sign Language
Signed in Colombia
Region Providence Island
Total signers 19 deaf signers, but known by the majority of the 2,500 population
Language family Language isolate
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 sgn-CO-SAP
ISO 639-3 prz

Providence Island Sign Language (also known as "Providencia Sign Language") is the sign language used by the deaf community on the small island community of Providence Island in the Western Caribbean, off the coast of Nicaragua but belonging to Colombia. The island is about 15 square miles (39 km2) and the total population is about 2,500, of which a large number are deaf.

It is believed that the sign language emerged in the late 19th or early 20th century. Brief sociological studies have suggested that deaf people on the island are not regarded as inferior in the areas of marriage, mental ability, occupations, and social integration.

External links


  • Woodward, James. Attitudes toward deaf people on Providence Island, Journal article in: Sign Language Studies 7:18 (1978), pp. 49-68
  • Woodward, James. Sign languages — Providence Island, in Gallaudet encyclopedia of deaf people and deafness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987., vol.3, pp. 103-104.
  • Washabaugh, William; Woodward,James; DeSantis, Susan (1978): "Providence Island Sign: A Context-Dependent Language". In: Anthropological Linguistics, vol. 20, 95-109.


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