Nicaraguan Sign Language

April 27th, 2018 · 27 mins 15 secs

About this Episode

Every language has a unique story, but Nicaraguan Sign Language is pretty special. A language emerging in the 80s amidst a revolution? In this episode of Language Stories, we're exploring the story of Nicaraguan Sign Language.

Every language has a unique story, but Nicaraguan Sign Language is pretty special. A language emerging in the 80s amidst a revolution? Click through to listen + watch this episode of Language Stories from Lindsay Does Languages.

Why Nicaraguan Sign Language?

There's more than one Sign Language in the world - 137 in fact, according to Ethnologue, with some other estimates of up to 300.

They all have a unique story, just like any other language. However, what makes Nicaraguan Sign Language particularly curious is how "new" it is.

This story is phenomenal, so I won't ruin it with any spoilers here! Watch + listen below to find out more.


James Kegl - James and his wife Judy have been involved in Nicaraguan Sign Language for many years now. They now are based in the USA but run Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects.

Tio Antonio - Antonio, a chef originally from Valencia, Spain, lives and works in Granada, Nicaragua running the Cafe de las Sonrisas and other projects providing employment opportunities for the Deaf community in the city.

Further Reading + Resources

Oralism - an explanation on oralism as a teaching methodology.

Psychological Effects of Oralism - a study on the psychological effects of oralism

Hammocks from Cafe de las Sonrisas - learn more about Tio Antonio, Cafe de las Sonrisas and treat yourself to one of their handmade hammocks if you fancy!

Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects - learn more about the work James and his wife Judy do.

Visual Dictionary - a dictionary for Nicaraguan Sign Language

A Life Without Words - a documentary about bringing Nicaraguan Sign Language to rural communities.

Sign: A Game About Being Understood - a silent game based on the emergence of Nicaraguan Sign Language.

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