• Total Population

    100 million

  • Deaf Population

    2 Million

  • Number of Sign Language Users

  • National Language


  • Other Languages

    The number of established languages listed in Ethnologue is 5. These include:

    • Afar
    • Amharic
    • Somali
  • Name of Sign Language

    Egyptian Sign Language (ESL)

  • Overview Of Deaf Community And Education

    There are 113 schools for the deaf in Egypt but the standard of education is low. Some use ESL and others are oral. There is little internet information about the schools; the Deaf Unit in Cairo reports it uses ESL and Arabic.

  • Sign Language Overview

    Egyptian sign language (ESL) is the usual name for the sign language used in the country. An early dictionary dates from 1984. The National Association of the Deaf has created an online dictionary; the formation of the signs is indicated in sign writing only. There are also a considerable number of clips of ESL lexicon on YouTube with glosses in Arabic. 

    There is no information available about variation in ESL. There are no grammatical descriptions available. A little work has been done on mouthing in ESL. 

    Egyptian Sign language is assessed to be developing by Ethnologue according to the Bickford et al. (2014) categories in that it is not losing users.

  • Deaf Organizations In Country

    • National Association of the Deaf and 
    • the Asdaa Association for the hearing impaired.

  • Overview of Interpreting Services

    The situation with interpreters is unclear. The National Association of the Deaf provides interpreting services. There does not seem to be any interpreting on television or for health, but there is some interpreting in religious services.

  • Resources

    Fan, Ryan. (2016). Mouthing and Initialization in Egyptian Sign Language. Poster presentation at Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference (TISLR 12).  

    Suwayd, Abd al-Hamid. (1984). Al-Qamus al-ishari. [Cairo, Egypt]  

  • Contributors

    Eyasu Hailu Tamene, Anne Baker

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