Malaysian Sign Language

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Malaysian Sign Language
Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia, BIM
Native toMalaysia
Native speakers
60,000 (2013 census)[1]
French Sign
Language codes
ISO 639-3xml

Malaysian Sign Language (Malay: Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia, or BIM) is the principal language of the deaf community of Malaysia. BIM has many dialects, differing from state to state.[3]

Malaysian Sign Language was created with the establishment of the Malaysian Federation of the Deaf in 1998, and its use has expanded among deaf leaders and participants. It is based on American Sign Language (ASL), but the two are considered different languages. BIM in turn has been the basis for Indonesian Sign Language.

Kod Tangan Bahasa Malaysia or Manually Coded Malay (KTBM) was created by hearing educators and linguists in between 1980 and 1986 and remains the only form of sign recognized by the Malaysian Ministry of Education. However, it is not a language in itself, but a means of manually coding the Malay language.

Sign languages which predate BIM in Malaysia are Penang Sign (PSL) and Selangor Sign (Kuala Lumpur Sign, SSL or KLSL). Additionally, every parent of deaf children uses unique created signs, called home signs, for gestural communication. The use of such home signs among peranakan or ethnic Chinese users of BIM may be responsible for the controversy over the supposed influence of Chinese Sign Languages, which is not well documented and may merely be based on ethnic stereotyping.


  1. ^ Malaysian Sign Language at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Malaysian Sign Language". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Penterjemahan dan Bahasa Isyarat By Hasuria Che Omar.