Auslan – The writing and spelling thereof

Most people in Australia speak Englisch.

Many would agree that ENGLISH is hard to learn.

If these two sentences felt a little strange to read – the first one because its misspelt (Englisch), the second because it is unnecessarily capitalised (ENGLISH) – then welcome to Auslan where this happens all. the. time.

Auslan is written as you would refer to most other languages: English, Spanish, Korean; with a capitalised first letter. 

It is not spelt Ausland. And it is not written AUSLAN.

Many other world sign languages are written as acronyms: ASL – American Sign Language, NZSL – New Zealand Sign Language, BSL – British Sign Language, not Auslan.

Auslan is not an acronym; it’s actually a portmanteau (which means it’s a blend of sounds that come together to make one word). In this case: Australian Sign Language = Auslan.

I’m always thrilled and impressed when I see people use/write this properly – and I wince internally when I see it written Ausland/AUSLAN. When writing about Auslan, please remember this: Auslan.

Thank you.