Learn Auslan – Answering questions

In English, it’s common to answer questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. In Auslan, answering questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ often earmarks you as a beginner. It’s not wrong, exactly, but the custom is to answer with an appropriate verb if possible.

For example, if someone asks me, do I have my toothbrush with me, I would answer ‘HAVE’.

If someone asks, do I have a warm jumper they can borrow, I would sign, ‘DON’T-HAVE, SORRY’.

If someone asks whether I can play the piano, my answer would be ‘CAN’.

If someone asks whether I’m planning to clean the house before my guests arrive, I would answer ‘WILL’.

If they ask if I’d like a cup of tea, I would sign ‘WANT’ or ‘DON’T-WANT’, and add the sign for THANK-YOU.

Watch the video for common answers to questions:


* have
* don’t have
* can
* can’t
* will
* want
* don’t want
You can also answer with other words, such as ‘NOT-YET’ or ‘LATER’ or anything that suits the context of the question.

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