Auslan (Australian Sign Language) is a beautiful language. Well, all signed languages are beautiful to me, but this one holds a special place in my heart. When I was 12 years old, I was blessed enough to be able to visit Australia for 16 days. While I was there, I truly wish I would have seen this language in action.
Australian Sign Language is the sign language used in Australia and is related to British Sign Language (BSL) and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). These three signed languages descended from the same parent language and are part of the BANZSL language family.
Australian Sign Language has also been influenced by Irish Sign Language (ISL) and American Sign Language (ASL).
Even though the United States and Australia both speak English predominantly, Australian Sign Language and American Sign Language (ASL) are very different. Australian Sign Language, like British Sign Language and New Zealand Sign Language, uses a two-handed alphabet while ASL uses a one-handed alphabet.
Australian Sign Language also has two dominant dialects: Northern and Southern. These dialects are very different from each other. They have different signs for things like colors, days of the week, and animals. However, there are no major differences in grammar.
The Auslan Alphabet
If you are interested in learning some Australian Sign Language, we recommend these free resources:
Even though you’re having fun with Australian Sign Language, don’t forget to learn ASL too!