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Basic information of the country/area
Name of the country/area Ghana
Formal name of the country/area Republic of Ghana
Country/area information The World Factbook (CIA)
Wikipedia (English)


Local sign for "Ghana"

sign for Ghana

Illustrations in the literature

"Ghana" (In: Japanese Federation of the Deaf ed. Supervisor: Hedberg, Tomas. 2003. Country name-signs. Helsinki, Finland: World Federation of the Deaf. 93.)

Spoken languages


Sign languages

Ghanaian Sign Language

Adamorobe Sign Language

Related sign languages:

American Sign Language

Population of Deaf/deaf people

Ghana National Association of the Deaf's official or approximate number of Deaf people: 6,000 plus.; Sign language users : 6,000 plus. (WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. : See Bibliography below.)

Legal status of sign languages

  • Status of the National Sign Language(s) from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1. The country’s government does not formally recognise the country’s sign language(s).

2. Deaf Association/Deaf Group lobbies the government for the recognition of the country’s sign language(s)

Organizations and associations of the Deaf/deaf

Ghana National Association of the Deaf (WFD member; established in 1968. (WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. : See Bibliography below.))

Institutes, associations and universities for sign language studies

Education for the deaf

  • Access to Education from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1.The government recognizes that Deaf children and Deaf students have the right to receive an education.

2.Legislation or policies on Deaf Education:

Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education/Disability Law

3.The government provides those educational settings for Deaf children and Deaf students:

Early intervention (Up to 5 years old)
Kindergarten (Between 3/4 years old to 5/6 years old)
Primary (From 5/6 years old to 12/13 years old)
Secondary (From 12/13 years old to 17/18 years old)
University (After 18 years old)
Vocational Education/Training

4.The government provides bilingual education using the country’s sign language(s) for Deaf children and Deaf students in those educational settings:


5.Total number of schools specifically for Deaf children and Deaf students in the country, and the educational approach for communicating with Deaf children and students at the Deaf School:

13 Deaf Schools
Oral and Sign Language (Total Communication)

6.Deaf people’s access to a University education and sign language interpreting services at University:

2 Universities provide access to Deaf students
Sign language interpreting services are available

Sign language interpretation

  • There is an association of sign language interpreters in this country. from WASLI Activities Report 2007-2011 (See Bibliography below).
  • Status of Sign Language Interpreting Services from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1.The number of sign language interpreters in the country:

About 10 Interpreters

2.Sign language interpreting qualifications in the country:

There is.

3.The provider of the training for people who want to become qualified sign language interpreters:

National Association of the Deaf
Other: Qualification for sign language interpretation does not happen academically; most of our interpreters are taught by Deaf people.

4.The number of sign language interpreters who have formal interpreting qualifications in the country:

None – we have just implemented a training programme for Interpreters in Ghana

5.The way Deaf people access sign language interpreters:

Sign language interpreters are recruited to help with interpretation of meetings, workshops and conferences.

6.The provider of the sign language interpreting services:

National Association of the Deaf
Private Sector
Others: The National Association of the Deaf recruits the interpreters while the organisation that is responsible for the demand for the services pay the costs of the service.

7.The area of life sign language interpreting services are available:

Social Services
Educational Services

8.The payment for interpreting services, and those who are responsible for paying:

Sign language interpreters receive payment for interpreting services
National Association of the Deaf/Deaf Group pays
Others: Non-governmental organisations

9.The average hourly rate of payment for sign language interpreters:

We do not pay sign language interpreters according to one average hourly rate. The fee is determined by ability to pay and arrived at by negotiation.

10.Sign language interpreters do not provide voluntary service for all sign language interpreting assignments.

11.National Association of Sign Language Interpreters:


12.National Code of Ethics for sign language interpreters:


13.Legislation or policy in the country which states that the government has a responsibility for the provision of sign language :

The National Disability Act-Act715.
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana

Deaf communities and cultures

Religious activities by the Deaf

Famous Deaf persons and hearing persons concerned with sign languages

Sign language dictionaries

Okyere, Alexander Daniel and Francis K. Boison et al eds. Ghanaian Sign Language". Ghana National Association of the Deaf. Accra-North, Ghana.


Kusters, Annelies. 2012. "The Gong Gong Was Beaten" —Adamorobe: A “Deaf Village” in Ghana and Its Marriage Prohibition for Deaf Partners. University of Bristol, Centre for Deaf Studies, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1TN, UK.

Kusters, Annelies. 2012. “Since time immemorial until the end of days”: The production of deaf space in Adamorobe, Ghana. Dissertation (PhD). University of Bristol.

Kusters, Annelies. 2012. Being a deaf white anthropologist in Adamorobe: Some ethical and methodological issues. In : Zeshan, Ulrike and Connie de Vos eds. Sign Languages in Village Communities : Anthropological and Linguistic Insights. De Gruyter Mouton (Boston/Berlin), Ishara Press (Nijemegen, The Netherland). 27-52.

Kusters, Annelies. 2012. Adamorobe: a demographic, sociolinguistic and sociocultural profile. In : Zeshan, Ulrike and Connie de Vos eds. Sign Languages in Village Communities : Anthropological and Linguistic Insights. De Gruyter Mouton (Boston/Berlin), Ishara Press (Nijemegen, The Netherland). 347-351.

Annelies Kusters. 2011. Ghanaian signs are soft and Adamorobe signs are hard. :Language use and language attitudes in Adamorobe. Applied Sign Linguistics Symposium, Bristol, 2ndJuly 2011.

WASLI (World Association of Sign Language Interpreters). 2011. WASLI Sponsorship Programme 2011. Kampala, UGANDA.

WASLI (World Association of Sign Language Interpreters). 2011. WASLI Activities Report 2007-2011. Kampala, UGANDA.

Annelies Kusters. 2009-2010. Socio-cultural Research Ethics: The case of Adamorobe. Plenary session on conference SIGN4, Delhi, India - 18 December 2009, Centre for Deaf Studies, Bristol, United Kingdom – 5 February 2010.

World Federation of the Deaf and Swedish National Association of the Deaf. 2008. Global Survey Report. WFD Regional Secretariat for Western and Central Africa Region (WFD WCAR). Global Education Pre-Planning Project on the Human Rights of Deaf People. World Federation of the Deaf. Finland.

Nyst, Victoria Anna Sophie. 2007. A Descriptive Analysis of Adamorobe Sign Language (Ghana). LOT(Landelijke Onderzoekschool Taalwetenschap) : Netherland.

Nyst,Victoria. 2007. Simultaneous constructions in Adamorobe Sign Language (Ghana). In : Vermeerbergen, Myriam, Lorraine Leeson and Onno Alex Crasborn eds. Simultaneity in signed languages: form and function. John Benjamins Publishing Co. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 127-145.

Kamei, Nobutaka. 2007. Around the world: Visit to the signing communities in Africa (2) A Deaf village, Ghana. In: Teaching English Now (Sanseido) 9 (Summer 2007): 0 (inside cover).

Kamei, Nobutaka. 2006. History of Deaf people and sign languages in Africa: Fieldwork in the "kingdom" derived from Andrew J. Foster. Tokyo: Akashi Shoten. [2007 JASID Award for Excellent Work by Young Researchers, Japan Society for International Development, November 2007].

Nyst, Victoria. 2006. The Sign Language of Adamarobe (Ghana). Presented at the workshop on Sign Languages in Village Communities. Max Plank Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, the Netherland. April 4-6.

Kamei, Nobutaka. 2004. The Deaf in Africa (5) Deaf views of America In:Sign Language Communication Studies (Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies, Japanese Federation of the Deaf) 51(2004.03):55-62.

Nakayama, Sinichiro. 2004. Make a Comparison of Word Order betweem Sign Language and Language for writing : From study about sign language used in Asia and Africa. In:Sign Language Communication Studies(Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies, Japanese Federation of the Deaf) 52(2004.06):22-26.[Including information of [ Ghana, Zambia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand ]

Nyst, Victoria. 2004. Verbs of motion in Adamorobe Sign Language. Poster. In: TISLR 8(International Conference on Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research; 8) Barcelona, September 30-October 2. Programme and Abstracts. 127-129. / also presented at Colloquium on African Languages & Linguistics 34, Leiden, August 2004 (unpublished).

Nyst, Victoria and Pamela Perniss. 2004 Classifiers or generic directionals : Motion in Adamorobe SL and German SL. Paper presented at the European Science Foundation workshop ‘Modality effects on the theory of grammar: A cross-linguistic view from sign languages of Europe’, Barcelona, November 2004

Frimpong, Kyei Frimpong. 2003. Deaf persons majority at Adamrobe. In : The Ghanaian Chronicle, 8 August 2003. p. 11.

GNAD. 2003. Ghanaian Sign Language. Acca: Ghana National Association of the Deaf.

Rue, E.M.S. 2002. The Beauty of Language: A Photographic Essay and Case Study of the Deaf Community in Adamorobe, Ghana; School for International Training. c/o Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana: Legon, Ghana, 2002.

Nyst, Victoria and Anne Baker. 2000. The Phonology of Name Signs: a Comparison between the Sign Languages of Uganda, Mali, Adamorobe and The Netherlands. In : Baker, Anne, Beppie van den Bogaerde and Onno Crasborn eds. Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research. Selected papers from TISLR 2000. 2003. Hamburg: Signum Verlag. 71-80.

Amedofu , Geoffrey K., George Brobby and Grace Ocansey. 1999. Congenital Non-syndromal Deafness at Adamorobe, an Isolated Ghanaian Village: prevalence, Incidence and Audiometric Characteristics of Deafness in the Village. In : Journal of the Ghana Science Association (Online). Congenital Non-Syndromal Deafness at Adamarobe, an Isolated Ghanaian Village (Part I). 1:22. 63-69.

Okyere, Alexander D., and Mary J. Addo. 1999. Historical development of education of the deaf in Ghana. In : H. William Brelje ed. Global perspectives on the education of the deaf in selected countries. Hillsboro, Ore. : Butte Publications. 141-155.

Oteng Florence. 1997. Deaf Adwoa Benewaa. Kumasi Catholic Press.

Seth, Ocloo. 1996. Sign language and the Deaf in Ghana. In : Akach, Philemon and Trier, Marianne eds. Seminars on Deaf Education (2-7 September 1996) and Sign Language (9-12 September 1996): Ghana - (mission) UNESCO document. 1997.

Okyere, Alexander Daniel and Mary Joycelyn Addo. 1994. Deaf culture in Ghana. In: Erting, Carol J., Robert C. Johnson, Dorothy L. Smith, and Bruce D. Snider eds. The Deaf Way: Perspectives from the international conference on Deaf culture. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. 97-101.

Amedofu, Geoffrey Kwabla. 1993. News from Ghana. In : Signpostspring 1993. 19-21.

Oteng, Florence Serwaa. 1988. Give Them A Name. Kumasi Catholic Press.

Frishberg, Nancy. 1987. Sign languages : Ghanian. In : Van Cleve, John V. (editor in chief), Gallaudet College eds. Gallaudet encyclopedia of deaf people and deafness. New York: McGraw-Hill. vol.3. 78-79.

Fishberg, Nancy. 1987. Ghanaian sign language. In: Van Cleve, John V. ed. Gallaudet encyclopedia of deaf people and deafness. New York: McGraw Hill. 778-779.

Dery, Stan. 1981. Childhood Deafness and Pre-School Education in Ghana. In : EDUCAFRICA. Bulletin of the Unesco Regional Office in Africa. Special Issue 1981. Education for Disabled Persons; UNESCO: Dakar, Senegal, 1981.

John B., David, 1972. Deafness in Ghana - a personal record. In: Seminar on Deafness, Accra, Ghana, September 4th-8th, 1972. London: Commonwealth Society for the Deaf.

Markides, A. 1972. The Training of Teachers of the Deaf in Ghana. In: Proceedings of the Seminar on Deafness Organised by the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf, Accra, Ghana, 4–8 September 1972.

Jhon. B., David, Ben B. Edoo, J.F.O. Mustaffah and Ronald Hinchcliffe eds. 1971. Adamarobe: a 'deaf' village. In: Sound v.5:70-72.

Osei-Sekyereh, P. 1971. Adamorobe Research Report. In: Scientific and Educational Conference, June 3-5, 1971, held at Mampong-Akwapim, Ghana. Mampong-Akwapim: Ghana Association of Audiology, Rehabilitation and Education of the Deaf.

Films and videos

Nyst, Victoria. 2012. A referemce corpus of Adamorobe Sign Language. A digital annotated video corpus of the sign language used in the village of Adamorobe, Ghana. Leiden University Centre for Linfuistics, Universititeit Leiden.


History of sign language research



Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Ghana

Summary of linguistic thesis Adamorobe Sign Language (AdaSL) by Victoria Nyst on Youtube, in Sign Language of the Netherlands.


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