Saturday, September 19, 2009

AUSLAN Dictionary

When I was around fifteen years of age, I wanted to learn Australian Sign Language to communicate with my next door neighbour's son. We'd talk over the fence, but finger-spelling was getting old and I'd often forget what I had been saying all due to needing to spell correctly. So, I attended night school and learnt about the silent world of the hearing impaired. I was the youngest in my class and the college I attended was situated in the worse part of Brisbane at the time (South Brisbane TAFE); and I was also working my way through high school as well!
Then, we were advised to purchase this dictionary to help our signing along; so we'd understand it better. I had to beg my Dad for the $50 or so it cost to buy the book (firstly having to put in an order for it).
Now, twenty years later, I still have this book on my bookshelf, and I still use it at various times. Auslan (Australian Sign Language) rarely changes; however, the dictionary does get reprinted once in a while. Now, the cover of this one is a little old; however, what's inside it is invaluable to me and anyone else who is serious about signing and communicating with the hearing impaired.
I still sign to anyone who signs to me. It's just something I have done since learning this wonderful language. There is a steadfast rule I live by though: I never, ever, eavesdrop on two - or more - people signing in public. Their conversation is private and their own; and they can't help it that this is their only way of communications. In fact, seeing I've visited their silent world a few times and feel it's not them who are missing out, it's us.

I'm not sure who wrote the dictionary or the history of it. However, I have e-mailed the Queensland Deaf Society for more information and am awaiting a reply. If you'd like to know more about them. I've put in a link on the side bar where the other sites for book-related sites are. It will stay there permanently for anyone to use.


  1. Wow! I didn't know Australia had their own sign language. I assumed "English" sign language was universal... I mean, you'd think it would be. o.O So do you think that all countries have their own sign language, even if several of them speak the same language? That's kinda weird. Haha!

    So did you ever actually use your sign language to speak to your neighbor? :)


  2. Yes, I did; and he's still very impressed that after all this time I remember a lot of it despite my disability (and my memory problems with that!). However, I do remember a time when my Mum was asked to get him to feed him dog; but she ended asking him to feed his bull instead... so funny! And the look on his face was priceless!

  3. I failed to answer you first question regarding if all countries had their own sign language. Well, England has one of the oldest types around; and it's still in use. America has its own and a very original one-handed alphabet (which no other country has) and Australia has Auslan.
    I visited England in 1997 and came across the Deaf Community purely by accident and found that when the people signed, I couldn't understand any of what they were saying; only little snippets as small bits are used in Auslan just like our own spoken language. However, Sign Language itself is a very interesting and wonderful language to learn and I do encourage people learn it if they are offered the opportunity as it's very beneficial for our minds and extremely social.

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