The German Sign Language (DGS) - German dictionary will be the first comprehensive corpus-based dictionary of DGS. The development of the dictionary is an important step in the documentation, research and teaching of German Sign Language. It is going to be a basic reference point for all those who use this language or are interested in it. It will document the usage of signs in context and will therefore be of significant practical benefit for several user groups.

Target audience

The dictionary addresses different target groups. Among those are learners of DGS with German as their first language, such as parents of Deaf children, late-deafened signers, hearing people working with the Deaf and sign language interpreters. Native signers equally benefit from the dictionary. People who are theoretically and practically studying the structure of DGS, e.g. sign language teachers or linguists, also belong to the target group.


The dictionary will be developed on the basis of a wide collection of data from all over Germany. The description of signs is based on the analysis of their usage in various contexts. The dictionary shall fulfill several interests and therefore offer different views of the contents. It will also offer different possibilities of usage and search routines so all information will be accessible in both languages (DGS and German).

Final product

The dictionary is going to be produced from 2020 on in electronic form. To meet the needs and desires of potential users of the dictionary a user survey was carried out in 2011. Approximately 1000 persons have contributed to the user survey, the results of which will be incorporated in the structure as well as the layout of the dictionary.