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by Bernard Vatant, Mondeca

Australian Aborigines Sign Language


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Many Australian Aboriginal cultures have or traditionally had a manually coded language, a sign-language counterpart of their oral language. This appears to be connected with various speech taboos between certain kin or at particular times, such as during a mourning period for women or during initiation ceremonies for men, as was also the case with Armenian Women's Sign Language, but unlike Plains Indian sign languages, which did not involve speech taboo, or deaf sign languages, which are not encodings of oral language. There is some similarity between neighboring groups, and some contact pidgin similar to Plains Indian Sign Language in the American Great Plains. Sign languages appear to be most developed in areas with the most extensive speech taboos: the central desert, and western Cape York. Complex gestural systems have also been reported in the southern, central, and western desert regions, the Gulf of Carpentaria, some Torres Strait Islands, and the southern regions of the Fitzmaurice and Kimberley areas. Evidence for sign languages elsewhere is slim, although they have been noted as far south as the south coast (Jaralde Sign Language) and there are even some accounts from the first few years of the 20th century of the use of sign by people from the south west coast. However, many of these codes are now extinct, and very few accounts have recorded any detail. Reports on the status of deaf members of such Aboriginal communities differ, with some writers lauding the inclusion of deaf people in mainstream cultural life, while others indicate that deaf people do not learn the sign language and, like other deaf people isolated in hearing cultures, develop a simple system of home sign to communicate with their immediate family. However, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dialect of Auslan exists in Far North Queensland, which is heavily influenced by the indigenous sign languages and gestural systems of the region. Sign languages were noted in north Queensland were noted as early as 1908 (Roth). Early research into indigenous sign was done by the American linguist La Mont West, and later, in more depth, by English linguist Adam Kendon.
Source : DBpedia

Names (more)

[en] Australian Aborigines Sign Language

Language type : Living

Language resources for Australian Aborigines Sign Language

Open Languages Archives

Technical notes

This page is providing structured data for the language Australian Aborigines Sign Language.
Following BCP 47 the recommended tag for this language is asw.

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ISO 639 Codes

ISO 639-3 : asw

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Authority documentation for ISO 639 identifier: asw

Freebase ISO 639-3 : asw Country Information

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