Australian Aboriginal Deaf People and Aboriginal Sign Language
Many Australian Aboriginal people use a sign language ("hand talk") that mirrors their local spoken language and is used both in culturally appropriate settings when speech is taboo or counterindicated and for community communication. The characteristics of these languages are described, and early European settlers' reports of deaf Aboriginal people signing are surveyed. The article also considers the use of these sign languages by deaf people in their communities and by deaf children in schools. Suggestions are made as to how the acceptance of signing in Aboriginal culture might help reduce the communicative isolation of Aboriginal deaf people.
Sign Language Studies
Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
Language Studies not elsewhere classified