Variation and standardisation[ edit ] Auslan exhibits a high degree of variation, determined by the signer's age, educational background and regional origin, and the signing community is very tolerant of individual differences in signing style. These differences can still be found amongst older signers in the community. Signers can often identify which school someone went to, even within a few short utterances. For example, part of the sign for "Canberra" incorporates the letter "C". The only bit that's missing is the number of interpreters that are needed to fill the gap. It was thought to be much easier for hearing teachers and parents to learn another mode of English than to learn a new language with a complex spatial grammar such as Auslan. The first Catholic school for Deaf children was established in by Irish nuns. Courses range from basic introductory courses to the nationally-accredited Auslan certificate and diploma courses. As schools opened up in each state, new signs also developed in the dormitories and playgrounds of these institutions.
Ms Levitzke-Gray is a passionate advocate for the Australian sign language Auslan as the fifth generation in her family to be born deaf. The French speak French and the English speak English. Family background One of the most important influences on grammatical variation in Auslan is the signer's family background. As a result, Auslan users can identify more precise regional varieties e. The first Catholic school for Deaf children was established in by Irish nuns. Older signers also use more fingerspelling than younger signers. It's not just a matter of having each individual word in English and a [representative] sign. Research on other sign languages shows that there can be important differences between the types of language used by native signers versus the language of nonnative signers 2. These different varieties of the same language are called regional dialects. For example, part of the sign for "Canberra" incorporates the letter "C". Thus, there are many different dialects of English spoken around the world. Auslan is a natural language distinct from spoken or written English. In some cases the mouth gesture that accompanies a sign may not reflect the equivalent translation in English e. People will often feel most familiar with the signs used in their social groups in the community, and not those used by other groups. In more recent times Auslan has seen a significant amount of lexical borrowing from American Sign Language ASL , especially in signs for technical terms. Standard dialects arise through the support of institutions, such as the media, education, government and the law. The first Auslan dictionaries used either photographs or drawings with motion arrows to describe signs; more recently, technology has made possible the use of short video clips on CD-ROM or online dictionaries. Education Traditionally, Catholic deaf children were educated in different schools and taught using the Irish one-handed manual alphabet and signs based on Irish Sign Language. Gender There is also some variation according to gender i. The Deaf community often distinguish between "oral deaf" who grew up in an oral or signed English educational environment without Auslan, and those "Deaf Deaf" who learnt Auslan at an early age from Deaf parents or at a Deaf school. It was, and still is, used largely in education for teaching English to Deaf children or for discussing English in academic contexts. SignWriting , however, has its adherents in Australia. Regardless of their background, many Deaf adults consider Auslan to be their first or primary language , and see themselves as users of English as a second language. Despite these differences, communication between Auslan users from different regions poses little difficulty for most Deaf Australians, who often become aware of different regional vocabulary as they grow older, through travel and Deaf community networks, and because Deaf people are so well practised in bridging barriers to communication. However, mouthing of an English word together with a sign may serve to clarify when one sign may have several English equivalents.
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