AUSLAN – Australian Sign Language


  • AUSLAN is an acronym created by Trevor Johnston, meaning Australian sign Language. It uses some aspects of Irish Sign Language as well as American Sign Language. However, it is most similar to BSL (British Sign Language), as both use a two-handed fingerspelling system and some variations have a similar grammatical and lexical structure. 
  • There are 20,000 users of AUSLAN, however only roughly 7,000 claim it to be their first language.
  • The similarities between the two Sign Languages occurred over time due to the increased number of deaf immigrants bringing BSL to Australia.
  • The sign language family BANZSL incorporates aspects of BSL, AUSLAN, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). These dialects (sign language forms/variations), share common signs (and their meanings), the same alphabet and typography, as well as the same sentence structure and grammar.
  • In 1991 AUSLAN was officially recognised as a language by the Australian Government.



Sentence Structure:

AUSLAN has many variations of sentence structures used in general conversation. Some follow the grammatical and lexical standards of English, such as:

Subject, Verb, Object (SVO)

Other variations include:

Subject, Object, Verb (SOV)