Sign Language: South African Sign Language

Subclassification references
Comments on subclassification

Lexicostatistical evidence reported in Johnston, Trevor A. and Schembri, Adam (2007): 60-66 and Bencie Woll (1987) (as also supported by historical evidence, Woll, Bencie and Sutton-Spence, R. and Elton, F. 2001: 28 ) and David McKee and Graeme Kennedy (2000) establishes the core of BSLic. The origin of BSL itself is known mainly through historical evidence ( Kyle, J.G. and B. Woll 1985 ):37-57. The BANZL subgroup is argued by Adam Schembri and Kearsy Cormier and Trevor Johnston and David McKee and Rachel McKee and Bencie Woll (2010) and Johnston, Trevor (2003) . Papua New Guinean Sign Language [papu1255] ( Lauren Reed and Alan Rumsey 2020 ):153-160, Fiji Sign Language ( Sano, Fumiya 2022 ):42-43 and Solomon Islands Sign Language [solo1262] ( Lauren Reed and Alan Rumsey 2020 ):152-153 also belong to this family, most closely related to Auslan. Maritime Sign Language [mari1381] is known historically to derive from BSL ( Buchanan, Beverly Josephine 2021 ):1-12. Sri Lankan Sign Language [sril1237] is also claimed to belong to this group ( Randika Jeewantha Herath and Piumi Ishanka 2022 ):449-450 (contra Henri Wittmann 1991: 286 ). A link between Lesotho Sign Language [leso1234] and South African Sign language can be suspected on historical grounds ( Litšepiso Matlosa 2009: 6 , Aarons, Debra and Philemon A. O. Akach 1998: 9-10 ). When shown the dictionary of ( Malillo Machobane and Litšepiso Matlosa and Peter Maphatšoe 2010 ) Veronica Nyst (p.c. 2017) did not want to commit to a significant similarity with SASL or any other language. Nevertheless it is presumed to be a member of the South African Sign language subfamily (or even the same language). A systematic lexical investigation remains to be done. According to Ashipala, Sackeus P. and Daniel Profelius and Marius N. Haikali and Nangolo Israel and Festus T. Linus and Henock H. Niilenge and Timony F. Haiduwah and Rauna N. Hashiyanah (1994): 342-343 the teachers at the Engela deaf schools (ca 1970) were trained in South Africa and Namibian Sign language [nami1249] may therefore derive from SASL, at least lexically, but a systematic lexical investigation remains to be done.

AES status:
not endangered
David M. Eberhard and Gary F. Simons and Charles D. Fennig 2024
South African Sign Language (sfs-sfs) = 5 (Developing). Recognized language (1996, 18th Amendment Act of 2023, amending Section 6 of the Constitution).
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