Learn Auslan – Space

The use of space is very important in Auslan. The key point to using space effectively, is to remember where you put things, and leave them there. Famous mime artists, when playing with an imaginary mouse, will always put the mouse back in their pocket when they have finished – they never let go of it mid-air. In Auslan the same concept is applied with space.

In conversation, when talking about a person who is not present, locate them somewhere in space, identify them, and from then on point to that location when referring to them. You need only say the person’s name once, when first identifying them. Replace the use of “he”, “she” with pointing to the location where you have placed that person. Be very careful that you leave the person in one spot. If you begin talking about another person, locate them somewhere else, to avoid confusion, and remember to point to the correct location.

Space is also important when describing physical layout. Practise describing

• The layout of your kitchen
• The layout of your house
• The layout of this room and the people in it
• A dinner plate of different food, showing where and how much of each item is on the plate.

Transposition: space is to be described according to how YOU (the signer) see things. The other person must transpose the image to visualize it correctly.

Try drawing on paper the position of hills and a farmhouse on a landscape, according to how someone has described it for you.

(Sorry, there’s no video yet to show signs describing objects and their arrangement in space. I hope to make one later.)

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