Australian Sign Language, better known as Auslan, is used by thousands of deaf and hearing impaired Australians everyday. If you'd like to be able to join the conversation, here are some places you can learn how to sign.
Auslan, like all sign languages, is a visual-gestural language. It is not just English words turned into gestures. They rely on hand and body movements of the signer to communicate and, as such, have different grammatical structure.
The grammatical structure and physical nature makes it difficult to turn Auslan into a written language, so all learning is best done either in person on using videos.
If you'd like to learn Auslan in order to communicate with a deaf friend or relative - or simply because you think it's a useful skill - you should contact one of the Deaf organisations in your area to see if they offer classes.
Here are some organisations that offer classes around Australia:
- Online: Deaf Society
- Adelaide: Deaf Can Do
- Brisbane: Deaf Services
- Sydney and Canberra: Deaf Society
- Hobart and Melbourne: Expression Australia
- Perth: WA Deaf Society
In the meantime, here's some basic phrases courtesy of Expression Australia (formerly VicDeaf).