New Zealand Sign Language
New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is the natural language of the Deaf community in New Zealand. NZSL is a visual-gestural language, which conveys ideas by signs, facial expressions, body language and lip patterns. It has its own grammar, rules and sentence structures -- which is different from English or Maori. It means that if you follow English words in signs, it will be lost in meanings or concepts.
NZSL was developed from British Sign Language roots and home-made and school signs. Today, there are rich variations in the use and growth in NZSL due to many factors.
Interesting Facts about NZSL
- 24,000 people use New Zealand Sign Language
- Around 400,000 people in New Zealand have hearing impairment but around 9,000 are culturally Deaf.
- There are 62.5% similarities found in British Sign Language and NZSL. Compare that with 33% of NZSL signs found in American Sign Language.