There’s Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and there’s American Sign Language (ASL)…

Some people mistakenly assume that Australian Sign Language is ASL. Nope. Australian Sign Language is known as Auslan (a portmanteau). ASL is American Sign Language (an acronym). These two languages are completely different. I can’t stress this enough. Many countries around the world have their own sign language. In Australia, we have Auslan. Now, just […]

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Why we are so Protective about Appropriation of our Language

You may notice that there’s an almost fierce protectiveness over our language by some of our Deaf community members. There’s a few reasons for this, to name a few: we have had to fight to have our language recognised, to be allowed to use it, to be seen as intelligent and conversationally aware beings. Throughout […]

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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 […]

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Dialect in Auslan – North vs South

When learning Auslan, you will inevitably hear about the north and south dialects. I observe that some learners of Auslan appear to be quite fixated on this. I fear they may be overly concerned. First, let’s explore where these dialects come from then I’ll explain my unorthodox opinion on this. In 1860 two of Australia’s […]

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How to Learn Sign Language in Queensland

In Queensland there can be some confusion about the path for learning Auslan. I hope to offer an unbiased (but not necessarily comprehensive) description here that will provide some clarity around how this can look for people and suggest some options along the way. I used to work for Deaf Connect (previously Deaf Services) for […]

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What Terminology to Use

Many minority groups have terms that are preferred and some to be avoided (consider Aboriginal/Indigenous communities and members of LGBTQI+ community (for example, pronoun usage). Naturally, the Deaf community – a linguistics minority group – experience the same. There are certain terms that can be used (misused?) in relation to d/Deaf community and topics. I […]

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Smile and Nod

My nana is going deaf. (She’s 93 years old now but started losing her hearing about a decade ago). Being the only Deaf person in my family, it has been such an interesting experience for me to share with her. My uncles (her sons) mumble, speak softly, have beards and moustaches, cover their mouths when […]

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Concentration Fatigue

I loved reading as a kid; I was a voracious reader. Looking back now, I realise it was because when I was reading, I never ‘missed’ a thing. The minute I look up from a book, I instantly miss so much. I can’t hear the speaker on the TV as the music plays in the […]

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The Inbetweener

While I am redhead, white-skinned and freckly, many of my brother and sisters are of Samoan descent. My little sister Ka-Lani and I have had some interesting discussions about how it feels to be in between two cultures; her cultures being Australian (our mum) and Samoan (her father), mine being Deaf and Hearing. I didn’t […]

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