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Chertsey Primary School

Chertsey Primary School

Growing and Learning for Academic Success

Telephone02 4325 3963



AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) is the language of the deaf community in Australia. AUSLAN is growing and changing all the time, and we are lucky here at Chertsey Primary School to offer weekly AUSLAN lessons to all students from K-6 within our school.


Here at Chertsey Primary School we have 2 deaf classes, which are taught by specialist teachers. Offering AUSLAN as a subject not only empowers our students from the deaf community, but also equips all of our students with the tools to communicate with members our deaf community.


A natural language, not an invented one

AUSLAN was not invented by any single person, hearing or deaf. Any language, whether spoken or signed, grows and develops spontaneously in response to the communication needs of its users, particularly when it is used (1) by an entire community and (2) in communication between parents and children, and especially when that language is the child's first, or only, one.



A number of signs in modern Auslan clearly have their origins in ISL (and through ISL to the French and European signing tradition). Also as a consequence of this mixing and exposure to Irish-based signing, the one-handed alphabet (including its modern American form) does not feel quite so 'alien' to Auslan signers as one might expect. Initialised signs base on one-handed fingerspelling have been and continue to be accepted by this linguistic community, even though fingerspelling is regularly produced using the two-handed alphabet.


Adapted from Johnston, T. (Ed.). (1998). Signs of Australia: A new dictionary of Auslan. North Rocks, NSW: North Rocks Press. (First published as Johnston, T. (1989). Auslan Dictionary: A dictionary of the sign language of the Australian deaf community. Sydney: Deafness Resources Australia.)