Grammar reference book for Swiss German Sign Language (DSGS)


Background and aims

The grammar reference book is aimed at teachers in sign language training courses and sign language interpretation training courses, teachers at schools and other training centres relating to DSGS, DSGS learners, the DSGS community as a whole, DSGS researchers, persons working in the field of special education, and other interested persons.

The aim of this research project is to compile systematically, for the first time, all previous information on Swiss German sign language grammar and to create a first version of a grammar reference book for DSGS.

With this, for the first time, information on the linguistic structure of DSGS will be made readily available not only to persons who deal with this language personally or professionally but also to a wider audience of persons interested in a language that is produced and received visually instead of acoustically. To ensure the understandability of the information, relevant linguistic terms will be explained in a separate glossary.

Project Management
Senior Lecturer
katja.tissi [at]

Methodical approach

Following the usual methods of grammar writing, first we will collect and evaluate existing materials in order to identify grammatical structures for which research already exists. The categorization of grammatic structures will follow SignGram Blueprint: A Guide to Sign Language Grammar Writing (Quer et al., 2017), a tool for creating grammar reference works for sign languages that was a product of the European Sign Gram COST Action IS1006 (Pompeu Fabra University, n.d.).


The online platform “DSGS-Referenzgrammatik”, which is the core product of this research product, is a central resource for teaching, learning, documentation, and further investigation of DSGS.

For the purpose of accessibility for DSGS users as well as for ease of modification later on, the grammar reference book and the accompanying glossary will be published online in DSGS (videos) and in German (written).


Pompeu Fabra University. (n.d.). Cost SignGram.

Quer, J., Cecchetto, C., Donati, C., Geraci, C., Kelepir, M., Pfau, R., & Steinbach, M. (2017). SignGram blueprint: A guide to sign language grammar writing. De Gruyter Mouton.