LSF – Langues de Signes Français (French Sign Language)


  • LSF currently has around 100,000 native language users (in France and in French-speaking parts of Switzerland).
  • It consists of a one-handed fingerspelling system, which has been borrowed by many other signed languages such as ASL and Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS).
  • Before the emergence of LSF, there was Old French Sign Language. Supposedly created by Charles Michel de l’Épée, who opened the first free deaf school in France.
  • After 1880, sign language was banned from schools as it was thought to be restricting the students in their learning. Therefore, instead they were taught using the oral approach of communication.
  • In 2005 LSF was officially recognised as a language in its own right and has “become a pillar in the identity of deaf culture“.



Sentence Structure:

Studies have shown that LSF uses a rather odd word order:

Object, Subject, and then Verb (OSV)

Whilst common in LSF, this is a word order used in no other language, visual or spoken.