Thomas Pattison, early Deaf educator Auslan evolved from sign languages brought to Australia during the nineteenth century from Britain and Ireland. The first known signing Deaf immigrant was the engraver John Carmichael  who arrived in Sydney in from Edinburgh. He had been to a Deaf school there, and was known as a good storyteller in sign language. These schools and others had an enormous role in the development of Auslan, as they were the first contact with sign language for many Deaf children. Because they were residential boarding schools , they provided ample opportunity for the language to thrive, even though in many schools, signing was banned from the classroom for much of the 20th century. The first Catholic school for Deaf children was established in by Irish nuns.
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Thomas Pattison, early Deaf educator Auslan evolved from sign languages brought to Australia during the nineteenth century from Britain and Ireland. The first known signing Deaf immigrant was the engraver John Carmichael  who arrived in Sydney in from Edinburgh. He had been to a Deaf school there, and was known as a good storyteller in sign language.
These schools and others had an enormous role in the development of Auslan, as they were the first contact with sign language for many Deaf children. Because they were residential boarding schools , they provided ample opportunity for the language to thrive, even though in many schools, signing was banned from the classroom for much of the 20th century.
The first Catholic school for Deaf children was established in by Irish nuns. In more recent times Auslan has seen a significant amount of lexical borrowing from American Sign Language ASL , especially in signs for technical terms. ASL contains many signs initialised from an alphabet which was also derived from LSF, and Auslan users, already familiar with the related ISL alphabet, accepted many of the new signs easily.
Auslan in relation to English Edit It is sometimes wrongly assumed that English-speaking countries share a sign language. Auslan is a natural language distinct from spoken or written English. Its grammar and vocabulary often do not have direct English equivalents and vice versa. However, English, as the dominant language in Australia, has had a significant influence on Auslan, especially through manual forms such as fingerspelling and more recently Signed English.
It is difficult to sign Auslan fluently while speaking English, as the word order is different, and there is often no direct sign-to-word equivalence. However, mouthing of an English word together with a sign may serve to clarify when one sign may have several English equivalents.
In some cases the mouth gesture that accompanies a sign may not reflect the equivalent translation in English e. This alphabet is used for fingerspelling proper nouns such as personal or place names, common nouns for everyday objects, and English words, especially technical terms, for which there is no widely used sign. Fingerspelling can also be used for emphasis, clarification, or, sometimes extensively, by English-speaking learners of Auslan. The amount of fingerspelling varies with the context and the age of the signer.
Schembri and Johnston in press  found that the most commonly fingerspelled words in Auslan include "so", "to", "if", "but" and "do". For example, part of the sign for "Canberra" incorporates the letter "C". See main article Signed English Australasian Signed English was created in the late s to represent English words and grammar, using mostly Auslan signs together with some additional contrived signs, as well as borrowings from American Sign Language ASL. It was, and still is, used largely in education for teaching English to Deaf children or for discussing English in academic contexts.
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 use of Signed English in schools is controversial with some in the Deaf community, who regard Signed English as a contrived and unnatural artificially constructed language. Signed English has now been largely rejected by Deaf communities in Australia and its use in education is dwindling; however, a number of its signs have made their way into normal use. 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.
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. There is no standard dialect of Auslan. Standard dialects arise through the support of institutions, such as the media, education, government and the law. As this support has not existed for most sign languages, coupled with the lack of a widely used written form and communications technologies, Auslan has diverged much more rapidly than Australian English.
The vocabulary of the two dialects differs significantly, with different signs used even for very common concepts such as colours, animals, and days of the week; differences in grammar appear to be slight.
These two dialects may have roots in older dialectal differences from the United Kingdom, brought over by Deaf immigrants who founded the first schools for the Deaf in Australia — English varieties from London in Melbourne and Scottish ones from Edinburgh in Sydney , although the relationship between lexical variation in the UK and Australia appears much more complicated than this some Auslan signs appear similar to signs used in the Newcastle variety of BSL, for example.
Before schools were established elsewhere, Deaf children attended one of these two initial schools, and brought signs back to their own states. As schools opened up in each state, new signs also developed in the dormitories and playgrounds of these institutions.
As a result, Auslan users can identify more precise regional varieties e. In a conversation between two strangers, one from Melbourne and the other from Perth, it is likely that one will use a small number of signs unfamiliar to the other, despite both belonging to the same "southern dialect". Signers can often identify which school someone went to, even within a few short utterances. 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.
They occur in the southern, central, and western desert regions, coastal Arnhem Land , some islands of the north coast, the western side of Cape York Peninsula , and on some Torres Strait Islands.
They have also been noted as far south as the Murray River. Deaf Indigenous people of Far North Queensland extending from Yarrabah to Cape York form a distinct signing community using a dialect of Auslan;  it has features of indigenous sign languages and gestural systems as well as signs and grammar of Auslan.
Written and recorded Auslan Edit Auslan has no widely used written form; in the past transcribing Auslan was largely an academic exercise. 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. SignWriting , however, has its adherents in Australia.
There is also one scene where the characters discuss the risky politics of using non-deaf actors using sign language in film.
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