Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe

  • Total Population


  • Deaf Population


  • Nation's Official Language


  • Other Languages

    The number of established languages listed in Ethnologue is 7.Among these are:

    • Angolar
    • Kabuverdianu
    • Kimbundu
    • Principense
    • Sãotomenese
  • Name of Sign Language

    São Tomé and Príncipe (LGSTP)

  • Overview Of Deaf Community And Education

    The project Sem Barreiras started in 2013 in order to bring deaf people together. There has been no organized education for the deaf on the islands. Many deaf children had been excluded from education. The aim of the project was to promote the development of a sign language for community forming and education. Most deaf people had been isolated until that date and had communicated with home signs. In 2013 the Deaf School of Bom-Bom was founded. In 2014 following an initiative from Portugal 63 deaf children received classes, and 15 teachers were trained in teaching children with hearing impairments. Three pilot classes in sign language for children with disabilities were also supported. There are short awareness courses targeted at teachers and families.

  • Sign Language Overview

    São Tomé and Príncipe Sign Language (Língua Gestual de São Tomé e Príncipe, LGSTP) is an emerging sign language.

    The aim of the 2013 Sem Barreiras project was to support the development of a local sign language. Care was taken not to impose Portuguese Sign Language. The researchers report that gestures, mime, and other visual representations were used to communicate with participants while potential signs were being identified and evaluated. About 100 young people were brought together. The structure of the emerging sign language was described in the article cited above. The authors write:

     “Currently, after two years of this project, 282 signs of the Sign Language of São Tomé and Principe have been chosen from the 500 conventionalized signs and have been recorded in a dictionary. Deaf people now meet outside the classroom, and one can often observe children, adolescents, and adults on the street communicating with each other with their hands. The fluidity of the communicative exchanges using LGSTP between them is remarkable. Deaf people in São Tomé and Principe have become a community with a common characteristic: a language that unites them and through which they can communicate.”

    Others report that LGSTP is similar to Portuguese Sign Language and that there is considerable mutual comprehensibility.

  • Deaf Organizations In Country

    • Deaf Association of São Tomé and Príncipe (Associação de Surdos de São Tomé e Príncipe)

  • Overview of Interpreting Services

    There are no interpreters available yet, and no official training. There is also no exposure on the media.

  • Resources

    Ana Mineiro, Patrícia Carmo, Cristina Caroça, Mara Moita, Sara Carvalho, João Paço, Ahmed Zaky. Emerging linguistic features of Sao Tome and Principe Sign Language. Sign Language & Linguistics. Vol. 20:1 (2017) pp. 109–128.  

    Carmo, Patrícia, Oliveira, Ricardo & Mineiro, Ana (2014). Dicionário da Língua Gestual de São Tomé e Príncipe. Lisboa: UCEditora.  

    Mineiro, Ana and Carmo, Patrícia (2016). Língua Gestual de São Tomé e Príncipe: Retrato dos primeiros gestos (pp. 161-182). In Linguística, revista de estudos linguísticos da Universidade do Porto, vol. 11.  

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

  • List of Contributors

    Mariana Martins, Marta Morgado, Anne Baker

Africa Map - São Tomé and Príncipe
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