Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language

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Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language (TTSL)
Trinidadian Sign Language (TSL)
Native toTrinidad and Tobago
Native speakers
2,000 (2008)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3lst

Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language (TTSL), sometimes called Trinidadian or Trinbago Sign Language (TSL) is the indigenous deaf sign language of Trinidad and Tobago, originating in about 1943 when the first deaf school opened, the Cascade School for the Deaf. It is not used in deaf education, which has been the domain of American Sign Language since about 1974, when a philosophy of Total Communication replaced previous Oralist approaches.[3] A mixture of TTSL and ASL is used in Deaf associations, with TTSL being used more heavily in informal situations. The younger generation does not know the language well, as they only learn ASL in school, but teachers are starting to switch over to TTSL.[4]

Many people in Trinidad and Tobago use the name Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language to refer to any variety of signing in the islands, which includes a range of signing varieties from TTSL to ASL and various blended versions in-between. Others make a distinction between ASL (or TTASL) and TTSL.[1]


  1. ^ a b Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language (TTSL) at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Braithwaite, Ben; Drayton, Kathy-Ann; Lamb, Alicia (2011). "The history of Deaf language and education in Trinidad and Tobago since 1943" (PDF). History in Action. 2 (1). ISSN 2221-7886.
  4. ^ Parks, Elizabeth. "Request for Change to ISO 639-3 Language Code" (PDF).