State of Eritrea

  • Total Population

    6,081,000 (2020 World Factbook)

  • Deaf Population

    15,000 (Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs)

  • Nation's Official Language(s)

    Tigre, Standard Arabic

  • Other Languages

    The number of established languages listed in Ethnologue is 15. Some of these are:

    • Afar
    • Bedawiyet
    • Bilen
    • Dahalik
    • English
    • Geez
    • Kunama
    • Nara
    • Soho
    • Tigrigna
  • Name of Sign Language

    Eritrean Sign Language (EriSL)

  • Overview Of Deaf Community And Education

    There appear to be no official data on the number of deaf people; the country did not take part in the WFD survey. There is no indication about any original sign language in Equatorial Guinea. Possibly ASL is used. This is not clear however.

    Bata School for the Deaf or Manos Felices was founded by American Noreen Corey in 2006. There is no information about the language of teaching at this school.

  • Sign Language Overview

    Eritrean Sign Language (EriSL) and its situation has been written about by Tsegay Moges (2015). There is variation between regions and between the signing used in the schools and outside in the rural areas. There is reported to be no influence of signs from any of the sign languages of the colonial powers ruling Eritrea in the past (Italy, Britain, and Ethiopia). The missionary teachers from Sweden and Finland used signs from those respective sign languages in the two schools but left the country in 1970 as a result of hostilities. Teachers from Eritrea continued in the schools. It is not clear how much overlap there is between EriSL and Swedish Sign Language.

  • Deaf Organizations In Country

    • The National Association of the Deaf in Eritrea (EriNAD) is the organization for Deaf people, founded in 1998.

  • Overview of Interpreting Services

    There are local sign language interpreters who work for the EriNAD; some interpret a few hours on the national television, especially on health issues.

    There is a local Eri. National Association of Interpreters

  • Resources

    EriNAD dictionary 

    Tsegay Moges, Rezenet (2015) Eritrea Sign Language In. Jepsen, Julie Bakken; De Clerck, Goedele; Lutalo-Kiingi, Sam; McGregor, William B (eds). Sign Languages of the World. A Comparative Handbook Paris: De Gruyter Mouton. Pp 235-252.  

  • List of Contributors

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Eritrea Sign
Name Sign of Eritrea