K–10Auslan K–10 Syllabus
The glossary draws on the NSW syllabus glossaries, the glossaries developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, and the Macquarie Dictionary.
Aboriginal Peoples are the first peoples of Australia and are represented by more than 250 language groups, each associated with a particular Country or territory. Torres Strait Islander Peoples are represented by 5 major island groups, and are associated with island territories to the north of Australia’s Cape York which were annexed by Queensland in 1879.
An Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is someone who:
- is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
- identifies as an Aboriginal person and/or Torres Strait Islander person, and
- is accepted as such by the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community(ies) in which they live.
A recognised dialect of English which is the first, or home language, of many Aboriginal people. It differs from other dialects of English, such as Standard Australian English, in systematic ways including sounds, grammar, words and their meanings, and language use. Aboriginal English is a powerful vehicle for the expression of Aboriginal identity. Aboriginal English is not a target language study option for NSW Aboriginal Languages syllabuses.
Texts that describe landscapes and directions of the tracks forged in lands, waters and skies by Creator Spirits during the Dreaming.
Listen to, read and/or view texts to understand meaning.
Content for students with significant intellectual disability who are working towards the Early Stage 1 outcomes. Teachers can use the access content points on their own, or in combination with the content for each outcome.
The extent to which a system, environment or object may be used irrespective of a user’s capabilities or abilities. For example, the use of assistive technologies (AT) to allow people with disability to use computer systems, or the use of icons in place of words to allow young children to use a system.
Adapted forms of Auslan, sign language and fingerspelling are used by people who are deafblind. The most common forms are visual frame or box signing, close vision, tracking, tactile signing, tactile fingerspelling or deafblind alphabet and short-cut signs.
A device or system whose primary purpose is to maintain or improve an individual's functioning and independence to facilitate participation and enhance overall wellbeing. This includes technologies specifically designed to meet an individual's needs, eg eye gaze technology, as well as more general technologies that can be used by anyone, eg speech-to-text applications. Assistive technology can also be referred to as inclusive technology.
Readers, listeners or viewers who engage with a text.
An umbrella term that encompasses the communication methods used to supplement or replace speech or writing. AAC can be unaided, such as gestures, body language and sign language, or aided such as pictures, symbols, objects or speech generating devices.
Responses given by the receiver of a message in a conversation that serve a social function, such as showing attention or nodding without interrupting the signer or giver of the message.
The use of a range of language features to link parts of a signed text to make it easy to follow and understand referents in the text.
Working with others towards a shared goal, through a variety of modes of communication. This may be achieved using a range of technologies, tools and processes.
A mutual and reciprocal exchange of meaning.
The ways people communicate and the communicative behaviours they use. Communication forms can be non-symbolic and/or symbolic. Non-symbolic forms include sounds, gestures, facial expressions and eye movements. Symbolic forms can be aided or non-aided. Aided forms of symbolic communication include objects, symbols, photographs and drawings. Aided forms can be digital. Non-aided forms of symbolic communication include formal gestures; speech; and signs, such as Key Word Sign.
A discourse strategy used in signed languages when signers use their own face and body to represent actions, signs, thoughts or feelings of a referent in a text. The referent can be themselves at another time, a different character, or something thought of as an animate entity.
The protection provided to the creators of original works and makers of sound recordings and films, that offers a legal framework for the control and reproduction or transmission of their literary, dramatic, artistic or musical works.
Country is used to describe a specific area of a nation or clan including physical, linguistic and spiritual features. Aboriginal communities’ cultural associations with their Country may include or relate to languages, cultural practices, knowledge, songs, stories, art, paths, landforms, flora, fauna and minerals. These cultural associations may include custodial relationships with particular landscapes such as land, sea, sky, rivers as well as the intangible places associated with the Dreaming(s). Custodial relationships are extremely important in determining who may have the capacity to authentically speak for their Country.
Place is a space mapped out by physical or intangible boundaries that individuals or groups of Torres Strait Islander Peoples occupy and regard as their own. It is a space with varying degrees of spirituality.
Develop and/or produce signed, spoken, written or multimodal texts in print, visual, oral or digital forms.
The customs, habits, beliefs/spirituality, social organisation and ways of life that characterise different groups and communities. Cultural characteristics give a group or individual a sense of who they are and help them make sense of the world in which they live. Culture is a shared system but inherently diverse – there can be individual and group differences within cultures. Everyone has culture – it is a lens through which we see the world.
In Aboriginal communities, an individual charged with maintaining and passing on particular elements of cultural significance, eg language, stories, songs, rituals and imagery.
When referring to deaf people who belong to a linguistic and cultural minority known as the Deaf community, the 'D' may be capitalised in reference to the individual, the group, or the culture in order to accord respect and deference, for example, the Deaf community. When referring simply to audiological status or when cultural affiliation is not known, as in the case of a person with a hearing loss in general, the lowercase 'd', as in 'deaf' is the more common usage.
A cultural identity for people with hearing loss who share a common culture and who usually have a shared sign language.
A local, national or transnational network of people who share the language and culture of Deaf people and a history of common experiences. A primary unifying factor in Deaf communities is the use of sign language.
The beliefs, values, traditions, history, social norms, literary traditions and art shared by d/Deaf people who belong to the Deaf community. Culture is understood as a framework in which things come to be seen as having meaning. It involves the lens through which people:
- see, think, interpret the world and experience
- make assumptions about self and others
- understand and represent individual and community identity.
Used to reframe the term ‘deaf’, from the traditional pathological perspective of ‘hearing loss’ often held by wider society to a view of deafness through the lens of bicultural diversity. Being deaf is seen as an individual and social gain and as a positive form of diversity that involves cognitive and sensory changes that have the potential to contribute to the greater good of humanity.
A partly-lexical sign that is highly iconic and can be modified in a gradient way by a signer. Depicting signs can act as verbs or nouns depending on their use in context.
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A variant of a language that is characteristic of a region or social group.
An umbrella term for any or all of the following components:
- impairments: challenges in body function or structure
- activity limitations: difficulties in executing activities
- participation restrictions: challenges an individual may experience in involvement in life situations. (World Health Organization)
Differences that exist within a group, for example, age, sex, gender, gender expression, sexuality, ethnicity, ability/disability, body shape and composition, culture, religion/spirituality, learning differences, socioeconomic background, values and experiences.
The Dreaming has different meanings for different Aboriginal groups. The Dreaming can be seen as the embodiment of Aboriginal creation which gives meaning to everything; the essence of Aboriginal beliefs about creation and spiritual and physical existence. It establishes the rules governing relationships between the people, the land and all things for Aboriginal Peoples. The Dreaming is linked to the past, the present and the future. Where appropriate, refer to Aboriginal names for the Dreaming.
The custodians of knowledge and lore. They are chosen and accepted by their own communities as people who have the permission to disclose cultural knowledge and beliefs. Recognised Elders are highly respected people within Aboriginal communities. Proper consultation with local Aboriginal communities will often direct schools to recognised Elders.
Showing or constructing the action, thoughts or language of a referent using the whole body or part of the body. Enactments are context-dependent for meaning.
Signs in which the handshape represents an object, and the object can move around or be located in space mirroring real world movement and location.
The direction in which a signer is looking, which can have conventional associated meanings in Auslan, such as marking a shift into character in constructed action.
The manual representation of the letters of the alphabet of a spoken language. In Australia, a 2-handed fingerspelling system is used to fingerspell English letters.
The first language(s) that a person learns to speak.
Words or expressions which are commonly used in fixed patterns and learnt as such without grammatical analysis.
- Once upon a time (story-starter)
Signs with a form that is fully specified, that is, the handshape, movement and location are conventional. Lexical signs make up a large proportion of the signs in a sign language dictionary.
A way of communicating with the hands that uses largely unconventional forms (except for conventional gestures such as the thumbs up for good), and that represents more imagistic thought of a speaker or signer. In spoken languages, gestures co-occur with speech, and in signed languages they form gestural overlays.
Signs where the handshape represents how a human hand holds or touches an object and the movement shows how something is moved around or located in space.
The held position of the hand and fingers in producing a particular sign.
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A person’s conception and expression of individuality or group affiliation, self-concept and self-representation. It is closely connected to culture and language.
A subset of verbs which can have their start or end location modified or be moved around in space to show who, what or where is involved in the verb. Directional indicating verbs can be moved meaningfully in space. Locatable indicating verbs cannot change direction but can be meaningfully signed in a non-neutral location.
An internationally recognised term for the first peoples of a land. In NSW the term Aboriginal person/Peoples is preferred.
Includes, but is not limited to, objects, sites, cultural knowledge, cultural expression and the arts, that have been transmitted or continue to be transmitted through generations as belonging to a particular Indigenous group or Indigenous people as a whole or their territory.
Non-material assets such as forms of cultural expression that belong to a particular individual or community. Intellectual property rights refer to the rights that the law grants to individuals for the protection of creative, intellectual, scientific and industrial activity, such as inventions.
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The act of translation from one language to another, the process of understanding and explaining.
A communication strategy that incorporates signing with speech. It is used to support language development for people with communication difficulties. Although Key Word Sign uses a simplified form of manual signing, it is different to Auslan, as it is not a signed language.
A key aspect of Aboriginal cultures and values. It includes the importance of all relationships and of being related to and belonging to the land.
A structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means of communication of humans, and can be conveyed through speech (spoken language), sign or writing.
An Aboriginal community identified with a common language, both verbal and nonverbal, and with a particular territory. Used in preference to the term ‘tribe’.
The process and range of strategies for increasing knowledge and use of a language that is no longer spoken fluently across all generations in the context of language loss or language dispossession caused by colonisation. Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages are being revived through community initiatives, linguistic research and school programs. ‘Language revival’ may be used as an overarching term that could also include ‘reclamation’, ‘revitalisation’, ’renewal’ and ‘reawakening’.
Grammatical, lexical, phonological or structural characteristics of a language or a text.
A sign where the fingers on the non-dominant hand are used to represent the items in a list while the dominant hand signs something about those items.
A local Aboriginal community is constituted by those people who are Aboriginal and who reside in the near locality. Aboriginal communities will have a rich and diverse history that has been seriously affected by dispossession and relations, which sees families with spiritual connection to Country residing beside those who have been forced to move from other locations. The notion of locality is complex and multilayered: schools should seek advice from a range of people and/or organisations representing local interests.
Referring to visual–gestural languages as opposed to auditory–verbal languages.
Language that has been modelled or previously taught by the teacher. It can be used by students as a scaffold in structured situations.
A text that combines 2 or more expressive modes to communicate.
An account of events or experiences, which are real or imagined. In English literary theory, narrative includes a story (what is narrated) and a discourse (how it is narrated). Narrative can present as an explicit sequencing of events (type of text) or it can be an implied or inferred component in a text.
Signs that are made in neutral space and do not make contact with a location on the body. These signs can easily be moved around in space.
Symbolic units of meaning that are created on the spot in a particular context, particularly in constructed action but also gesturing. These signs cannot be listed in a dictionary.
Elements of a sign that contribute to the meaning but are not made with the hands, for example eyebrow position or mouth gestures.
Taking place away from Aboriginal land or Country of origin.
Taking place on Aboriginal land or Country of origin.
The direction the palm or fingers of a handshape point in a given sign.
Each Aboriginal Language is recognised as belonging to a particular geographical area and thus to the people who can claim a connection to that area. Aboriginal community members acquire ownership of their language(s) at birth. Language proficiency is not essential for ownership.
Signs with a form that is not fully specified. The handshape, movement and/or location can change, for example in pointing signs (direction or handshape can be modified), or depicting signs (movement and location are often created on the spot).
Movement of the hands from one location in space to another while producing a sign.
The appropriate ways of behaving, communicating and showing respect for diversity of history and culture. This involves appreciation of the knowledge, standing and status of people within the local Aboriginal community and the school community. Protocols inevitably vary between communities, and between people within a community. In establishing a partnership between schools and Aboriginal communities, it is especially important that protocols are acknowledged and respected.
The person or thing being talked about with a sign or phrase.
The degree of formality or informality of language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting.
A term used commonly in NSW Aboriginal communities to refer to the way an individual treats others. Showing respect occurs in many ways, such as waiting to speak, listening and demonstrating understanding, not asking too many direct questions, ensuring that people are not made to feel uncomfortable or uneasy, and generally showing regard for others’ ideas, beliefs and culture.
Engaging with a text. ‘Responding’ involves identifying, selecting, describing, comprehending, imagining, interpreting, explaining, analysing and/or evaluating.
Hand signs (or hand talk) used to supplement or replace oral language. Signs form part of nonverbal communication for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and may be used by people who are hearing, or d/Deaf or hard of hearing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sign Languages may be used in some areas. Some Sign Languages may be associated with sacred ceremonial practices.
Visual–gestural languages which evolve naturally in Deaf communities, such as Auslan. They are neither universal nor based on the spoken language of the country or region. Sign languages have their own lexicon and grammar and are equally complex and sophisticated as spoken languages. Adapted forms of sign language can be used for people who are deafblind.
The use of words, graphic designs and/or symbols used to communicate a message, eg information signs, plaques, warning signs, road signs, signs that show direction.
The area around a signer in which signs are articulated and can be modified.
A text in which the vocabulary and language structures are very familiar and straightforward, with mostly simple sentences. Comprehension may be supported by the use of visuals and/or word lists.
Depicting signs in which the handshape and movement are used to outline the size or shape of an object. The handshape is formed as if handling the actual entity being described (or a miniature of it) and the movement is a mirror of the hands, as if they are tracing the size and shape of the object.
Locations in the signing space that are associated with particular absent referents so that they can be referred back to in place of naming a referent.
A type of assistive technology that enables people with cognitive and/or physical disability to access a range of devices, including computers and communication devices. Switches can be activated by touch, or triggered without contact, such as through eye gaze, sound or blowing.
A process of translating signs/words/text from one language into another, recognising that the process involves movement of meanings and attention to cultural context as well as the transposition of individual words.
A highly visual form of performance often incorporated into storytelling which uses features of mime, gesture, non-manual features and specific cinematic techniques in the production of signs. Techniques include close and distant focus, dissolving of visual images and cutting between scenes, objects and characters, and time distortion in the three-dimensional delivery of visually presented information.
Signed languages are described as visual–gestural because they are received through vision and signed with hands, compared to spoken languages which are described as auditory–oral languages, as they are received through hearing and spoken with the mouth. The term does not equate signed languages with gesture in general.
Yarning circles are an important cultural practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to learn within the collective group. Knowledge and information are shared in harmony and respect with all individuals.