Turkish Sign Language

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Turkish Sign Language
Türk İşaret Dili
Native to Turkey, Northern Cyprus
Early forms
Possibly from Ottoman Sign Language
  • Turkish Sign Language
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tsm
Glottolog turk1288[1]

Turkish Sign Language (Turkish: Türk İşaret Dili, TİD) is the language used by the deaf community in Turkey. As with other sign languages, TİD has a unique grammar that is different from the oral languages used in the region.

TİD uses a two-handed manual alphabet which is very different from the two-handed alphabets used in the BANZSL sign languages.


There is little published information on Turkish Sign Language.

Signing communities

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, there are a total of 89,000 persons (54,000 male, 35,000 female) with hearing impairment and 55,000 persons (35,000 male, 21,000 female) with speaking disability living in Turkey, based on 2000 census data.[2]


TİD is dissimilar from European sign languages. There was a court sign language of the Ottoman Empire, which reached its height in the 16th century and 17th centuries and lasted at least until the early 20th.[3] However, there is no record of the signs themselves and no evidence the language was ancestral to modern Turkish Sign Language.[4]

Deaf schools were established in 1902, and until 1953 used TİD alongside the Turkish spoken and written language in education.[5] Since 1953 Turkey has adopted an oralist approach to deaf education.

See also


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Turkish Sign Language". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Türkiye İstatistik Kurumu, Nüfus, Konut ve Demografi Verileri 2000
  3. Miles, M. (2000). Signing in the Seraglio: Mutes, dwarfs and gestures at the Ottoman Court 1500-1700, Disability & Society, Vol. 15, No. 1, 115-134
  4. Turkish Sign Language (TİD) General Info, Dr. Aslı Özyürek, Koç University website, accessed 2011-10-06
  5. Deringil, S. (2002). İktidarın Sembolleri ve İdeoloji: II. Abdülhamid Dönemi (1876–1909), YKY, İstanbul, 249.

External links