Maritime Sign Language

Maritime Sign Language (MSL)
Native to Canada
Region Atlantic Canada
Native speakers
Unknown (date missing)
  • Maritime Sign Language (MSL)
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3 nsr
Glottolog mari1381[1]

  Maximum historical range of Maritime Sign Language among other sign languages in the US and Canada (excl. ASL and LSQ).

Maritime Sign Language (MSL), is a sign language descended from British Sign Language and spoken in Canada's Atlantic provinces.[2] It is unknown the extent to which this language is spoken today, though there are linguistic communities found across the Atlantic provinces. MSL is being supplanted by American Sign Language (ASL) resulting in fewer MSL speakers and a lack of resources (education, interpretation, etc.) for MSL speakers.

The dialect of ASL currently spoken in the Maritimes exhibits some lexical influence from MSL.


  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Maritime Sign Language". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International.
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