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South African Sign Language
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South African Sign Language

Native to South Africa
Native speakers 235,000 (2011 census)[1]
Language family
South African Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sfs
Glottolog sout1404[2]
South African Sign Language (SASL, Afrikaans: Suid-Afrikaanse Gebaretaal) is the primary sign language used by Deaf people in South Africa. The South African government added a National Language Unit for South African Sign Language in 2001.[3] SASL is not the only manual language used in South Africa,[4][5] but it is the language that is being promoted as the language to be used by the Deaf in South Africa,[6] although Deaf peoples in South Africa historically do not form a single group.

In 1995, the previous South African National Council for the Deaf (SANCD) was transformed into the Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA),[7] which resulted in a radical policy change in matters for Deaf people in South Africa, such as the development and adoption of a single sign language and the promotion of sign language over oralism. Schools for the deaf have remained largely untransformed, however, and different schools for Deaf children in South African still use different sign language systems, and at a number of schools for the Deaf the use of any sign language is either discouraged or simply not taught.[8] There are as many as twelve different systems of signed oral language in South Africa.[9]

In addition to South African sign languages, American Sign Language (ASL) is also used by some Deaf people in South Africa. Most local sign languages in South Africa show the influence of American Sign Language.

SASL is the sign language that is used during television news casts in South Africa. Sign language is also used in the South African parliament, but different sign language interpreters are known to use different signs for the same concepts.[10] There are around 40 schools for the