Côte D’Ivoire

  • Total Population

    25,823,000 (2019 census)

  • Deaf Population

    50,689 (Census 1998), 32,953 (Census 2014) 

  • Nation's Official Language(s)


  • Other Languages

    The number of established languages listed in Ethnologue is 88. Some of these are:

    • Abidji
    • Abron
    • Abioukrou
    • Anyin
    • Arabic
    • Avikam
    • Bakwe
    • Bambara
    • Bete, Daloa
    • Bete, Gagnoa
    • Bisa
    • Dan
    • Dida, Lakota
    • Fulfulde
    • Gban
    • Guro
    • Hausa
    • Jula
    • Kla-Dan
    • Kulango, Bondoukou
    • Kulango, Bouna
    • Mbato
    • Moore
    • Mwan
    • Senoufo, Cebaara
    • Soninke
    • Spanish
    • Wojenaka
    • Yaoure
    • Yoruba
  • Name of Sign Language

    Langue des Signes de l’Afrique Francophone, Langue des Signes Bouakako, local sign language, ASL

  • Overview Of Deaf Community And Education

    The first, and currently only independent deaf school in the country was established in 1974 in Abidjan. There is only primary education available for deaf children. In school, a form of Total Communication is used according to the WFD (2008) report. A deaf unit has been set up a few years ago in Abengourou.

  • Sign Language Overview

    At least two, but probably more, sign languages are used in the country. The sign language used by educated deaf signers is a local variety of Langue des Signes de l’Afrique Francophone (LSAF) and Sango. Courses teaching this sign language variety are offered at the Institut National de Formation Sociale (INFS) for teachers in special education.

    Another sign language used in the country is the Langue des Signes Bouakako, which emerged spontaneously in response to a peak in the incidence of deafness in the village of Bouakako near Hiré. It is an emerging sign language. A large, annotated video corpus of this language has been created (Tano, 2014). A linguistic description of the language has been published by the same author (Tano, 2016). Additional, more detailed linguistic publications have been written by Tano and Nyst (Size and Shape Specifiers,2018). And Tano (color terms, forthcoming).

    In other parts of the country, local sign language use has been documented as well (Tano 2014), e.g. by a group of deaf signers in Abobo. 

    None of these sign languages have gained an official status in legislation. The University of Félix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan offers a regular introductory course on sign language linguistics.  

  • Deaf Organizations In Country

    There appear to be two national associations: 

    • Association Nationale des Sourds de Côte d'Ivoire (ANASOCI) and the
    • Association Ivoirienne des Sourds pour la Promotion et la Défense (AISPD).
  • Overview of Interpreting Services

    A small number of volunteer interpreters are available. There is a daily 30 minutes news broadcast that is interpreted into the school sign language at 13.00 hours. 

    There is no sign language interpreting provided by the government (WFD 2008:74), there are no governmental documents in any sign language and no sign language is used in any news program (WFD 2008:62).

  • Resources

    WFD (2008). Global Survey Report. WFD Regional Secretariat for Western and Central Africa Region (WFD WCAR). Global Education Pre-Planning Project on the Human Rights of Deaf People. World Federation of the Deaf. Finland.  

    Yeboua Kobenan Faustin (2005, 2007, 2009, 2012) Manuel de langue des signes de Côte d'Ivoire. (RGPHG).  

    Sanogo, Yedê Adama (2014) Ecoute mes mains. Abidjan: EDILIS.  

    Tano, Angoua (2014). Un corpus de référence de la Langue des Signes de Bouakako (LaSiBo). Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Universiteit Leiden: ttp://www.africansignlanguages.org/downloads/ivory-coast-sign-language-corpus/.  

    Tano, Angoua (2016). Etude d'une langue des signes émergente de Côte d'Ivoire: l'exemple de la Langue des Signes de Bouakako (LaSiBo). Thèse de Doctorat, Université de Leiden, LOT.  

    Tano Angoua & Nyst, Victoria (2018). Tracing the emergence of Size and Shape Specifiers: body-part SASS signs in a young and an old village sign language. To appear in Sign Language Studies, Special Issue Fall 2018.  

    Tano Angoua (forthcoming). Stratégies d’expressions et connotations liées à la notion de couleur dans une langue dessignes émergente: la Langue des Signes de Bouakako-Côte d’Ivoire. Submitted in Afrikanistik-Agyptologie-Online.  

  • List of Contributors

    Tano Jean-Jacques Angoua, Victoria Nyst 

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