Maritime Sign Language (MSL)

Maritime Sign Language (MSL) is an endangered language, used by Deaf people in the Atlantic provinces in eastern Canada.

Richard Martell, a Deaf resident of Nova Scotia, posted the following information on his Facebook page "Maritime Sign Language":

"Maritime Sign Language (MSL) is a sign language descended from British Sign Language and spoken in Canada's Atlantic provinces.[2] It was created through the convergence of deaf communities from the Northeastern United States and the United Kingdom immigrating to Canada throughout the 1700s and 1800s.[3] 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. ASL is now the main language that is used by the Deaf community in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Due to the expansion of ASL, there are less than 100 MSL users." Source: Wikipedia


Richard Martell posted a MSL sign/word of the week on his Facebook page every week. Check out for some examples of MSL signs:

Abstract paper: "The Survival of Maritime Sign Language" by Noni Warner, Elizabeth Doull, Diane Falvey, Richard Martell, Jim McDermott, and Elliot Richman.

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