República da Guiné-Bissau (Republic of Guinea-Bissau)

  • Total Population

    1.9 million

  • Deaf Population


  • Number of Sign Language Users

  • Nation's Official Language


  • Other Languages

    The number of established languages listed in Ethnologue is 23. Some of these are:

    • Bayot
    • Biafada
    • Bidyogo
    • Guinea-Bissau Creole
    • Mandjak
    • Mankanya
    • Papel
    • Portuguese
    • Pulaar
    • Susu
  • Name of Sign Language

    Sign Language of Guinea-Bissau (Língua Gestual Guineense – LGG) 

  • Overview Of Deaf Community And Education

    The National School for the Deaf (Escola Nacional de Surdos) was founded in 2006. The establishment of the school bringing deaf children together for the first time led to the spontaneous emergence of a new sign language. This sign language is used as the medium of instruction in the school.

  • Sign Language Overview

    The sign language used in Guinea Bissau is called Língua Gestual Guineense (LGG) or Sign Language of Guinea-Bissau. This sign language is a very young sign language that started emerging in tandem with the establishment of the first school for deaf children in 2006. It is unrelated to other sign languages, including Portuguese Sign Language. It did borrow the manual alphabet from Portuguese Sign Language.

    Collaboration with the Portuguese Deaf Association led to the creation of two dictionaries for Língua Gestual Guineense.  A description of the language is found in Martins & Morgado (2016).  At present, there is no sign language research going on at the university level in Guinea Bissau. 

  • Deaf Organizations In Country

    • Associação de Surdos da Guiné-Bissau (AS-GB)

  • Overview of Interpreting Services

    A small number of untrained interpreters is available. Deaf people pay for interpretation themselves (WFD 2008). There is no interpretation of the news on television. There are short awareness courses targeted at teachers and families. There were awareness campaigns lead by deaf instructors on HIV and Ebola.

  • Sign Language Resources In The Country

    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.  

    Martins, M., & Morgado, M. (2008). Dicionário escolar de Língua Gestual Guineense. Surd’Universo.  

    Martins, M. and Morgado, M. (2017). Diccionário pratico de língua gestual Guineense: Lingua gestural Guineense para todos. Surd’Universo.  

    Martins, Mariana and Morgado, Marta (2016). Deaf communities in Portuguese - speaking African countries (pp. 136-154), in García, Barbara Gerner and Lodenir Becker Karnopp (orgs.) Change and promise: Bilingual deaf education and deaf culture in Latin America. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press.  

  • Resources

  • List of Contributors

    Mariana Martins, Marta Morgado, Victoria Nyst

Guine Bissau Flag
Africa Map - Bissau