How The Deaf Community – Are Preserving Auslan?

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Sign Language for kids
The ones who cannot hear are never considered to be lesser. You have a unique and special ability to communicate – the “talking hands” or “sign language”. It’s a treat to watch how beautifully this special language works.

The sign language is not restricted to one single form. Rather, we have different sign languages based on each country’s language. The sign language used by them varies across continents like Auslan (Australian Sign Language), ASL (American Sign Language), or BSL (British Sign Language).

If you think that learning sign language is quite a difficult task, don’t worry. For making these languages popular among the people, inspiring parents to help their child learn sign language for kids, some people venture into different video remote interpreting techniques. This can help them to learn their native sign language as well as other languages.

With the rapid advancements in technology, pharmaceutical tech firms are inventing assisted speaking devices and cochlear implants. This makes sign languages like Auslan on the brink of extinction. Meanwhile, the Deaf community is making efforts to help people learn the Australian sign language and preserve it. 


How It All Started

Australian Sign Language, or Auslan, is the language of the Deaf community in Australia. It has been in use for over a century now.

Trevor Johnston introduced the term Auslan with the first publication of the Auslan Dictionary, 1989. Initially, it was called ‘Deaf Signing’ or Australian Deaf Sign Language. Australian Government recognized Auslan as an official community language in 1991.

Many organizations are working towards getting Auslan the much-deserved recognition.


How Is Auslan Unique

It would fascinate you to know that earlier, most deaf communities have been using Auslan for ages. Yes, the sign language followed in Britain for years now has earlier interpreted Auslan in one of their books then.

Like every other language, Auslan would help you overcome the communication barrier in Australia. Most of the sign languages taught and used globally follow BSL. Hence, if you are well versed in Auslan, you can consider yourself bilingual!

The recent cultural representations state that everybody can use Auslan. Since Auslan has its grammar and varies from other sign languages, a separate subject can be taught in the schools. This could help the children to learn Auslan quickly and effectively.


Popularity Of Auslan

We should know that Auslan is not popular globally, like American or British or Chinese sign language. It is restricted to the natives of Australia. It’s completely based on the influence of their culture and tradition that Auslan has gained momentum.

On the other hand, the usage of Auslan has seen an immense downfall. This is mainly because of the wide network of ASL and BSL among people. Even for the ones in Australia, they prefer these only because of Auslan’s lack of knowledge.

In 2015, a young and vibrant proponent of Auslan stood for the rights of preserving Auslan. She called on the Australian Government to insist on using Auslan as a native language and as a human right for the Australians. There are over 20,000 people who make use of Auslan to communicate every single day. 


Trying To Maintain Equality

People are born with individual differences. Both the weaknesses, as well as strengths play a vital role in shaping our personality. Differences should be respected. The Deaf community is trying to garner recognition and respect for Auslan like the other languages.

Auslan is not just a sign language. But it’s a network of those who have the motive to preserve the language’s rich culture and history. There are clubs and organizations which enhance the use of Auslan among people.

This practice needs modifications to promote mainstreaming the Auslan. Instead of replacing Auslan, written languages should complement the children to learn and utilize their potential talents.


Institutions And Infrastructure

The establishment of deaf schools, clubs, deaf-owned businesses, service providers, and sports infrastructure adds to the Deaf community’s history providing the posterity with a legacy to live carry forward.

Institutionalization of the culture will serve a crucial role in recognizing and preserving the culture, language, and identities of the deaf community. The first step towards making people aware of the existence of Auslan should be implementing it in schools. It can be included as a second language so that they can learn with ease.

It is in great regard that the Government of Australia has come forward in support of Auslan. There are mainstream schools that have already included Auslan in their curriculum and practice bilingual programs. Apart from this, there are diploma courses which again thrives the popularity of Auslan among the young.


Communicate With Patience And Connect With Urgency

Seeing how the extinction is so near, the Deaf community should unite across the globe, overlooking the differences—standing up to save the language that is dying even before the future generations have revealed in its glory.

There is a need to communicate with the mainstream population how tragic the loss of this language is—the ancestors and the posterity demand that we hustle to save this legacy.

It is finally in our hands to decide upon the future of Auslan. If we stop using it and pass on to our younger generations, the day is no longer a way to see any traces of it.

Start spreading the word with the wish to make Auslan sustain, definitely it will!

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