Our Lady of Lourdes students from Years 3 to 6 are learning Auslan as our chosen language in LOTE. Auslan is Australian Sign Language, the native language of the Australian Deaf community. It is a visual-spatial and natural language for our Deaf community, with its own grammar and vocabulary.
Auslan has linguistic elements, such as hand shapes (including orientation, location and movement), non-manual features (including eye gaze, facial expressions, arm, head and body postures) and fingerspelling. It combines specific hand shapes, facial expressions and body movements to communicate the intended information.
Learning Auslan is something anyone can do, which means students gain the capacity to communicate with peers, friends, and family members who use Auslan, and even those who don't. Learning a visual language such as Auslan, provides students with an added an appreciation for Deafhood, cultural identity, and the Deaf community membership.
Auslan is recognised by linguists as having two major dialects—Northern (Queensland and New South Wales), and Southern (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia). The children from Our Lady of Lourdes learn predominantly the Northern dialect, but also the Southern dialect, so that we are all inclusive.
Auslan uses a variety of ways to convey meaning. Several elements of signing are often combined with one another to construct the signs on which the language is based. These include: