Japanese Journal of Sign Language Studies
Online ISSN : 2187-218X
Print ISSN : 1884-3204
ISSN-L : 1884-3204
Featured Article: Sign Linguistics of African Sign Languages
Is Kenyan Sign Language a sister language of ASL?
An analysis of language nativity through comparison between KSL and ASL
Ritsuko MiyamotoSoya Mori
Author information

2015 Volume 24 Pages 17-30


This study investigates lexicostatistical, phonological and morpho-syntactic features of Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) and compares them with those of ASL. It concludes that evidence shows KSL is not a sister language of ASL for three major reasons. The first reason is that core vocabulary cognates are only 13-22% between the two languages. The second reason is that there are phonological differences, especially those of H2 hand-shape distribution. The third reason is that there are morpho-syntactic differences, such as three arguments and word-order, between the two languages. The findings of the current research project should next be confirmed by comparative research between different sign languages in the area. We could have a newer view of KSL as a language developed with the nativity of signed languages in the whole of eastern Africa.

Information related to the author
© 2015 Japanese Association for Sign Language Studies
Previous article Next article