The following resources have been developed for teachers, interpreters and Auslan learners to better understand the terminology used in Auslan linguistics. These resources were initiated as a result of a collaborative project with ASLIA Victoria, with funding from the Victorian Deaf Education Institute. New resources will continue to be developed with support from the Auslan program at Melbourne Polytechnic.

We are especially grateful for the support of Dr Adam Schembri and Dr Gabrielle Hodge.

For information in English, please refer to the relevant section of Johnston, T. & Schembri, A. (2007). Australian Sign Language: An introduction to sign language linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

What is linguistics?
(coming soon)
Linguistics is the scientific study of language, including the structure and use of a language.
Reference:
Pages 8-11 in Johnston & Schembri (2007)
Use of space
Fluent signers use the signing space in specific ways when communicating. This space can be categorised into: real, topographic (including viewer and diagrammatic) and abstract space.
Reference:
Pages 136-154 & 165-166 in Johnston & Schembri (2007).

For a transcript of the video, click here: Linguistics of Auslan series – Use of Space

Depicting signs
Depicting signs represent the location and movement of entities (e.g. people, animals and objects), how something is handled, or the size, shape and characteristics of entities.
Reference:
Pages 158 & 163-176 in Johnston & Schembri (2007)

For a transcript of the video, click here: Linguistics of Auslan series – Depicting Signs

Role shift and constructed action
Role shift indicates a change in the point of view of a participant in a constructed dialogue or constructed action.
Reference:
Pages 256-261 & 273-274 in Johnston & Schembri (2007)
For a transcript of the video, click here: Linguistics of Auslan series – Contructed Action