Glossary (Version 8.4)

See Depicting signs.

Support provided to assist the learning process or to complete a learning task. Scaffolded language support involves using the target language at a level slightly beyond learners’ current level of performance, and involves incremental increasing and decreasing of assistance. Task support provides assistance to perform just beyond what learners can currently do unassisted, to progress to being able to do the task independently. Scaffolding includes modelling and structuring input in ways that provide additional cues or interactive questioning to activate existing knowledge, probe existing conceptions or cue noticing and reflecting.

The simultaneous watching and copying/shadowing of a signed text.

National and regional signed languages are commonly referred to in the form of acronyms, for example: DGS - Deutsche Gebärdensprache (German Sign Language); BSL - British Sign Language; LSF - Langue de Signes Française (French Sign Language). A full list of acronyms and languages is available on Ethnologue.

Small groups of sign languages that have a high rate of similarity in their lexicons due to historical origins or geographic relationships; for example, BANZSL.

An online Auslan language resource, including a dictionary of signs organised according to the structure of Auslan, information on Auslan, links to Auslan classes, inbuilt search features to explore setting-specific signs such as medical or educational signs, and links to video clips and signed examples in Auslan.

Australasian Signed English was an artificial system of producing each part of English on the hands; developed by a committee in the 1970s for the purposes of teaching deaf children. Signed English is not widely used in the Deaf community and is not actively taught in schools today; however, it has significantly influenced the lexicon of Auslan in some age groups and regions.

Visual-gestural languages which evolve naturally in Deaf communities, through which signers use conventional and mutually agreed-upon symbols (signs) to communicate with each other. Signed languages have their own grammar and lexicon. They are not based on the spoken language of the country or region where the community is located. Signed languages are not universal. They are real languages, with a complete set of linguistic structures; complex and highly nuanced, as sophisticated as natural spoken languages.

The area around a signer in which signs are articulated and can be modified.

The view that deaf people form a linguistic and cultural minority group comparable to other linguistic minorities. This viewpoint does not see deafness as a medical deficit or pathological condition. Although it may encompass the use of assistive listening devices and a range of communication options, it places high value on the use of signed languages and Deaf community networks.

The use by signers of the space around themselves to locate referents in discourse; the process of allocating a referent to a location, in order to keep track of who, what or where is being discussed.

Changing a sign to point towards referents present in the environment or towards locations in the space around the signer associated with absent referents.

A type of adjective used when comparing more than two things and identifying one that has the most of a feature, such as small versus worst small or most small.