Australian Sign Language (Auslan) is a unique sign language that has evolved over time to meet the needs of the Australian deaf community.
In this blog, we will explore the differences between Auslan and other sign languages, and why learning it can be a valuable skill for both hearing and deaf individuals.
Auslan is the sign language used by Australia’s deaf community.
It is a visual form of language that relies on hand gestures, facial expressions, and body movements to convey meaning. Auslan is a complex and nuanced language that has its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary — it is not simply a visual representation of spoken English or any other spoken language.
While all sign languages share certain common features, each sign language is unique and has its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Auslan, for example, has its own set of signs, facial
expressions, and grammar rules that distinguish it from other sign languages.
Some other examples of sign languages include American Sign Language (ASL), British Sign Language (BSL), and French Sign Language (LSF).
One of the primary differences between Auslan and other sign languages is the way in which numbers are expressed. In Auslan, numbers are typically signed using a combination of handshapes and facial expressions. In contrast, ASL and BSL use a more sequential system to express numbers. Another difference between Auslan and other sign languages is the use of space. In Auslan, space is used to convey meaning and to show relationships between signs. In contrast, ASL and BSL use space primarily for emphasis and clarification.
There are several reasons why it is important to learn Australian Sign Language.
Communicating with the deaf community
First and foremost, it is a way to communicate with
the deaf community in Australia. By learning Auslan, you can build bridges and connect with members of the deaf community in a way that is both respectful and empowering.
Breaking down communication barriers
Secondly, learning Auslan can help to break down communication barriers between the deaf and hearing communities.
Deaf individuals often face significant barriers to communication and inclusion in mainstream society. By learning Auslan, you can help to reduce these barriers and create a more inclusive and accessible society.
Learning a unique skill set
Thirdly, learning Auslan can provide you with a unique skillset that can be useful in a variety of settings. For example, if you work in healthcare or education, knowing Auslan can help you to provide better care or support to deaf individuals. Similarly, if you work in customer service or hospitality, knowing Auslan can help you provide a more welcoming and inclusive environment for deaf customers or guests.
If you are interested in learning Auslan, there are several options available to you. Here are some of the most common ways to learn Australian Sign Language:
Attend a course or workshop
There are many organisations and institutions that offer Auslan courses and workshops. These can range from short introductory courses to more in-depth programs that cover advanced grammar and syntax systems.
Online learning platform
There are many online courses available that can teach you Auslan. These can be a convenient option if you have a busy schedule or if there are no local courses available in your area. Providers like Melbourne Polytechnic provide a blend of both face-to-face and virtual learning with scheduled classes taking place on campus and in virtual classrooms to let you thrive in your studies, despite your busy schedule.
Immersion programs are an intensive way to learn Auslan. These programs typically involve living and studying with members of the deaf community for a period of time.
In summary, Australian Sign Language (Auslan) is a unique sign language with its own grammar, syntax, and vocabulary that has evolved to meet the needs of the Australian deaf community. Compared to other sign languages, Auslan has a distinct way of expressing numbers and using space to convey meaning. Learning Auslan can be important for communicating with the deaf community, breaking down communication barriers, and providing a unique skill set that can be useful in various settings.
Melbourne Polytechnic is the sole provider of a range of professionally recognised Auslan accreditation courses in Victoria, and our course pathways provide the necessary prerequisites to Auslan interpreter training.
Study Auslan at Melbourne Polytechnic and learn about how to communicate with Australia’s Deaf community through sign language.