Facilitator: Adam Schembri, La Trobe University
(email: a[.]schembri[at]latrobe[.]edu[.]au)

Auslan (short for Australian Sign Language) is the sign language of the Australian deaf community, historically related to British Sign Language (BSL) and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). It is one of Australia’s most widely misunderstood languages – Auslan is a natural language that was not invented by any individual, and many aspects of its vocabulary and grammar are quite distinct from English. The earliest known signing deaf individuals to bring BSL to this country began to arrive as convicts and free settlers from 1819. Since that time, Auslan has developed into a distinct sign language variety that was recognised as a community language by the Australian government in 1984 (Lo Bianco, 1987).

There are relatively few universities in the country that teach Auslan. There is a three-year sequence of undergraduate Auslan subjects currently taught at La Trobe University, offered by the National Institute for Deaf Studies and Sign Language. Macquarie University and RMIT University both offer an Auslan stream as part of the degrees in translation and interpreting. Auslan has also been taught at the University of Newcastle and Griffith University.

This cluster is established to support the teaching of Auslan at university level, and the need for ongoing research on this unique aspect of Australia’s linguistic landscape.

If you are interested in participating in this cluster, or require further information, please contact the facilitator.

Lifeline for sign language course, The Age, 4 November, 2012

Relevant websites
Auslan Signbank (online dictionary of Auslan): www.auslan.org.au
La Trobe University: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/health/about/schools/departments/national-institute-for-deaf-studies-and-sign-language
Macquarie University: http://www.ling.mq.edu.au/postgraduate/coursework/tip/pca.htm
RMIT University: http://www.rmit.edu.au/translatinginterpret/TAFE

TAFE turns a blind eye to the deaf http://blogs.crikey.com.au/fullysic/2012/05/26/tafe-turns-a-blind-eye-to-the-deaf/
Strong and proud: The deaf community has no need for self-appointed champions https://theconversation.edu.au/strong-and-proud-deaf-community-has-no-need-for-self-appointed-champions-3875

Links to organisations
Deaf Australia: www.deafau.org.au

Other links of interest
youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCXAUATESfE