Australian Sign Language, more commonly known as Auslan, is the natural language of the Deaf community of Australia. Auslan originated from historic roots of British Sign Language (BSL) but due to distance and the different cultural environments of Australia and Britain, Auslan developed vocabulary signs matching to that of the Australian environment and the adaptation led to the formation of its own version of sign language.
Auslan is the primary or preferred language of the majority of Deaf people who have been severely or profoundly deaf since early childhood. However Auslan is also used by people with varying hearing losses, but mainly those that identify with the Deaf community.
You may not be aware that sign language is not a universal or international language. Each and every country has its own sign language; some have originated from France, some from England such as Auslan and some countries from their own grass roots.
At Deaf Can:Do we provide short courses for people wanting to experience Auslan whether you are a beginner or have a little more experience. Our native Auslan Instructors have first-hand knowledge and experience in order to teach what can seem to be a complex language.
Auslan is not the same as English; it has its own grammar and syntactical structure and is closely related to the French language in this sense. Being a visual spatial language, Auslan has no written form however it can be translated into spoken English.
During Deaf Can:Do’s short courses, participants will begin to understand the basics of the language, hand shapes, orientations, locations, movements, and facial expressions Fingerspelling is at the core of Auslan - it is required for spelling names, places and English words that don’t have a sign equivalent or if a person doesn’t know the sign. These courses will teach participants to hold basic conversations with Deaf people. These courses are a lot fun and can be a great way to meet new people.
Why learn Auslan?
- Communicate with a Deaf friend, family member or colleague
- Learn new skills – especially useful in teaching, social work and human services environments
- Prepare for life with a Deaf newborn
- Develop an interest in another language.
Try and finger spell your name in Auslan!